My Venture in Soccer PT.1
Every single player has an origin.
In my case, I first started playing soccer at the tender age of 5 years old. It was, of course recreational, and it was something my mother signed me up to get me up and about.
Throughout my childhood, the coaches and the teams I had played with have molded me into the player I am today. I am forever thankful for every single one of my caoches and the people who have guided me along the way to where I am now.
I mostly credit my parents for continued support as I go along my Venture.
Let’s delve into the start of my venture, and where it all began.
My mother looked at taekwondo as an option for a sport since I was about 3 years old living in Mexico. I actually reached a decent level, and finished the class being a yellow belt. Swimming was another sport I was involved with and actually really enjoyed.
We moved to Canada when I was about 5 years old back in 2007/2008. Luckily my mother and my father thought it was a good idea to sign me up for soccer in the U6 age group. I remember it being ridiculously fun and my parents detected a competitive attitude whenever I played. Season after season they signed me up for new teams which mostly revolved around volunteer player coaches.
We would play short mini-games of soccer and have snacks after each game provided by the designated parent. This continued until I reached the age of around 9 or 10, when I then started playing for the U10 Mckenzie United team. I remembered the first year of playing with them I had a very demanding coach. I was mostly goalkeeper although I sometimes slotted in at defense. We had 3-4 top top players who were offensive options who I looked up to and were inspired to improve by them.
Soccer didn’t start to look fun anymore however. I always though I was the “weak spot” in the team whenever I played with the players and began to get frustrated at my own abilities. There were even some games I did not look forward to playing and often dreaded the prospect of playing for the team again.
The Early Development
That all changed next season in U10 soccer when I played for Mckenzie United, but in a different team. It was a division 2 team, and I found myself playing for freely in offensive positions. I was mostly a left winger who would cut inside and bang them in with the left foot.
I found myself challenging to improve every day and striving to become the best. My parents, sensing my desire, signed me up for extra training sessions in a program called Soccer Genius. Soccer Genius improved my attitude to being hardworking for results, and ultimately improved my technique and taught me new ways to going about the sport.
Since we were living in Calgary where the winters are dreadful and packed with snow, we would play outdoor soccer in the spring, summer and late fall and we would play a miniature style of soccer which was played indoors. I absolutely disliked playing indoor soccer as there was no real space to play in and it was a totally different game to outdoor soccer where you had 11v11.
During my stint at Crusaders, we would go on mini-tournaments to Red Deer, Airdrie, and Lethbridge which were close cities surrounding Calgary. Those were the first experiences I had representing my city and my club in a different city.
At this point, I was still regarded soccer as a recreational activity and a hobby on the side. Things started to pick up however….
My stint at Crusaders was one I will never forget and the people I met there were of class and people who formed me into the person and player I am today. I am most thankful to Craig Fallows, Colin Lendrum, and Jeff Farnham, and Paul Schultz who were fundamental to my development at this stage of my Venture.
Crusaders, Mckenzie United Soccer Club 2010-2014
Visit their website here.
Ambition Takes Over
I worked extremely hard to become the player I was at the time. We were still playing in division 2 of the Calgary Minor Soccer League. I wanted to make the step up. My parents made the decision to fulfill my desire to be in the highest division in Calgary. Foothills Football Club was a successful club at the time who were recognized for developing many players through their ranks and leading them on to their Premier Development League Team in the United States.
We opted to make the switch. I went to their tryouts for the upcoming outdoor season and was the only new member from a different club. I knew nothing of my surroundings or of my teammates. Luckily, I made the first division team. I was very content with my efforts and looked froward to playing 11v11 at the highest level with Foothills FC 02’s.
We were supposed to be playing in the U12 category this year, but opted to try the U14 age category and tier 2 to challenge ourselves against older players. The first days in the club I was extremely anxious and almost nervous as I settled in the new surroundings. I was definitely a level a bit lower than the rest of my teammates and found myself being played in multiple positions to try and find the best position for me to play in.
I went from striker, to out on the wings, to left back until I finally found some success playing in the middle of the park as a central defender. My aggression and braveness to win the ball back were key factors for my settlement in that position. I felt I was one of the most improved players on the team, and really started to make my mark. That was late in the season however and it was now time for the indoor season.
Every tier 1 team had the obligation to play futsal, an indoor alternative to soccer. I personally was not a fan of it at all. It’s a completely different game. It’s like tennis compared to table tennis. I disliked the fact that when we were playing futsal, other players were playing the real game of soccer. That futsal season however my tight space control of the ball and my passing got improved. I had a standout game versus one of our league rivals Villains FC. They had a top player who had a great ability to create chances. My coach specifically asked me to mark him tightly and not allow him to create any opportunities.
That game I not only kept the player quiet, but I had a hand in one of our goals and scored another. It was a great game and I think that was the time where my position in the team really stood out. Apart from that game I had some great performances and we had a successful season as a club in the league.
I was keen to continue to improve in the outdoor season with Foothills FC, where we would be playing in the U14 tier 1 division…
Calgary Foothills Soccer Club 2014 – 2016
Visit their website here.
I want to thank all of my teammates for the utmost support and backing during this phase. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without them. A huge thank you as well to Burk Kaiser, Mike Sell, Leon Hapgood, and Cito Ariza for their efforts and superb coaches that have undoubtedly made me into the person and player I am today.
Venture Continued on Part 2… Coming Soon!
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Next Article Coming This Saturday on August 21, 2017.