Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
'Typical' teen takes unique adventure
January 21st, 2010 11AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Emily Cohen

David Adams is your typical American teenager. He loves Subway sandwiches on toasted white bread. His dad has to bug him to finish his homework before he goes to soccer practice. And he spends a couple of hours each night on Facebook.

However, while most ninth graders are rushing to finish their math homework at recess and going to Friday night dances, Adams is spending four hours each day training with the U-15 team of a Mexican first division soccer club. Adams is in Mexico for six months as part of an exchange program between his home club, Utah FC, and Queretaro FC.

"My dream is to play soccer professionally and I'm learning so much here from my coaches and the other kids," says Adams. "The speed of play here is much faster than I've seen before and everyone on the team plays at a very high level."

And he's not just talking about their soccer skills. Located about 160 miles northwest of Mexico City, Queretaro sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level. That's no small adjustment when you're playing soccer for a few hours every day. Even for a kid from Utah.

"It felt like I couldn't breathe the first time I went out to play soccer. After the training session, I was gasping for air," Adams says, recalling his first day of practice two weeks ago. "Even now that I've adjusted to the elevation, it's still more difficult to run and exercise here."

But he's not complaining. Adams knows how lucky he is to have this opportunity to train with a premier Mexican youth soccer club -- for free. "There were about 300 kids at the open tryouts just after Christmas. Only three of us were selected and I was the only American."

It's no secret that Mexican clubs have been scouring the United States for talent, but to-date their eyes have been on Mexican-Americans such as Edgar Castillo and Jose Francisco Torres, who joined Mexican clubs' youth programs as teens and are now first-division starters. Adams, however, has no ancestral ties to south of the border.

It was his coach at Utah FC, Saul Santos, who saw his potential and suggested that he fly to Mexico for the tryouts. "David is a player who has the skill, the physical ability and the fitness level to make it at a high level in soccer," says Santos. "He always wants the ball at his feet and he has personality in the field. He's the kind of player coaches love."

So does Adams feel lonely or left out as the only American among a Spanish-speaking team?

"Everyone here has been really welcoming and accepting," says Adams, whose blond hair makes him easy to spot in the team photo. "Part of the goal of the exchange program is for the Mexican players to learn English and my Spanish has definitely improved already. I can order my favorite Subway sandwich in Spanish."

In addition to learning Spanish in this unique immersion program, Adams is also taking a full load of classes as part of an online independent study program through BYU to keep him on track with his classmates when he returns to Utah at the end of the school year.

"It is a bit of an adjustment not going to school. I miss my friends and the social stuff," Adams says. "But when I'm at home I play soccer every day and here I get to play more soccer every day. That's what matters and that's what I'm here to do."

But Santos hopes Adams comes away with something more, something deeper.

"For many of David's teammates in Mexico, soccer is their only shot to get out of poverty," Santos says. "Soccer gives them hope. By participating in this exchange program, I hope soccer takes on a different meaning for David."

(Emily Cohenis a freelance writer living in Berkeley, Calif.)

 



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Jitka Klimkova: 'Let players find solutions by themselves'    
Jitka Klimkova grew up in a Czech village where girls weren't allowed to play organized soccer. ...
Friedel's revamped U.S. U-19 men lift Slovakia Cup    
The U.S. U-19 men's national team, coached by Brad Friedel, beat Russia, 2-1, to win the ...
How refs work with assignors    
Assignors are the people who give referees their schedules. Depending on the league, some assign the ...
U.S. U-16 boys beat Brazil    
The U.S. U-16 boys national team, after opening the 13th Tournament Delle Nazioni with a 2-1 ...
Omid Namazi has done it all in coaching: indoors, women, Iran, now U.S. U-18s    
Omid Namazi, who took charge of the U.S. U-18 men's national team in January, started his ...
Toronto kid helps U.S. U-17s beat Canada    
The U.S. U-17 boys national team hosted Canada for two friendlies in Fort Lauderdale and won ...
What makes a player push through adversity?    
He was this player of mine who wasn't particularly talented. In fact, he barely made the ...
Road-trip games for a fun journey    
Whether your child plays select or recreation soccer, chances are good that in the next six ...
Benefits of heading ban are clear to see    
I have now refereed and watched several games since the elimination of heading for children 10 ...
Historic game against Iran awaits U.S. U-16 girls    
The U.S. U-16 girls national team, at the 1st International Women's Tournament of Gradisca in Italy ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives