Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Long before they became stars ...
by Bryan Alvarez, October 22nd, 2009 5:30PM



By Bryan Alvarez

When Soccer America profiles the nation's top young players, we ask them to reflect on their early youth soccer years and share their outstanding memories. Here are some of our favorites:

2008 Olympian Dax McCarty of FC Dallas:
"When I was young, I was faster than the other kids. One time, I was dribbling. I was going so fast I dribbled past the goal. People were yelling at me to stop but I kept going. My parents had to stop me."

Midfielder Robbie Rogers of the Columbus Crew and U.S. national team:
"I was on one of my first teams and I scored my first goal. I was so excited. Unfortunately, it was on the wrong goal."

Taylor Vancil, University of Louisville goalkeeper and starter on the USA's runner-up team at 2008 U-17 Women's World Cup:
"When I used to play forward I was about 9 or 10 years old. I dribbled from half-field during a rainy game. I was one-on-one with the keeper. The keeper sort of moved as I was shooting. I ended up sliding into the goal with the ball in between my knees. That was pretty funny."

Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei:
"At a young age, my team went to a tournament in Austria. The keeper got hurt. So, I had a great idea. I volunteered to play keeper because I wanted to jump in the mud. My mom didn't think it was such a good idea because she had to wash my jersey."

D.C. United midfielder Rodney Wallace:
"When I was 8 years, I had a game but it was raining. My father and I thought the game was canceled but it wasn't. I went to the game and came on at halftime. I scored four goals."

New York Red Bull defender Jeremy Hall:
"My mom went to sign me and my brother up for baseball. But the registration was full. My brother tried to convince me to play soccer instead. I eventually gave in. I remember going to practice in jean shorts and shinguards over ankle socks."

Kansas City Wizards' defender Matt Besler:
"When I was in a tournament, I got to take a corner kick for us. I was about 7 years old. It might have been windy. I kicked it and went into the goal!"

Chivas USA midfielder and U.S. U-20 international Jorge Flores:
"My cousin and I took the bus to play a game. We didn't have enough money to get home. So, we walked and got home around 1:00 in the morning."

(Bryan Alvarez is Assistant Editor at Soccer America.)


  1. Chad Jackson
    commented on: October 22, 2009 at 6:13 p.m.
    Bryan, good and clever little stories but it would be great if you actually did an in depth interview with a star player before they became a star. How they prepared, how much they practiced, what they practiced, what coach influenced them the most. What is important about being a professional etc. Love to see that.
  1. Marcus Witte
    commented on: October 22, 2009 at 7:50 p.m.
    I agree with Chad as well but am really happy you shared these stories with us. I will foreward on to friends, family, players and other coaches I know! And make sure to get more girls/women's stories as well!

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Reffing Futsal (Part 1): Calling and counting fouls     
Futsal has been growing rapidly in the USA as it's a wonderful player development tool. But ...
'Fun, friends and health' is what youth soccer should be about (Q&A Shannon Higgins-Cirovski)    
After starting for the USA when it won the inaugural Women's World Cup on 1991, Shannon ...
After Concussion: Don't Just See A Doctor, Be Sure To See The Right Doctor    
Much has been written about concussion in young athletes but today I want to devote a ...
Ref Watch: How the last game of the season can present unique challenges    
I'm a positive thinker. But all the positive-thinking in the world cannot erase the fact that ...
Brain expert explains the wisdom of USSF's heading policy for youngsters     
Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the USA's leading experts on concussions in sports, responded to some ...
The border tug of war: Mexico courting U.S. talent is a 'good sign'    
In 1998, the Mexican government changed its laws to allow dual citizenship, thus enabling U.S.-born Mexican-Americans ...
Heading ban for 10-year-olds and younger makes sense, but important concussion questions remain    
In recent years, new science has provided clearer information on the dangers of concussions and studies ...
Stop interrupting: Substitute sensibly     
Part of this I found amusing as I reffed 8-year-old boys whose coach had them wear ...
College Choice: Taking the right steps makes the process more enjoyable    
Selecting the right college can be frustrating, and even cause anxiety for many families. Many kids ...
Throw-ins: What refs get wrong and what coaches can do right     
What rule do refs in the youth game tend to get wrong most often?
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives