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
When They Were Children: Stories from the Stars
by Mike Woitalla, April 12th, 2011 2:49PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

One of the more enjoyable parts of interviewing stars is hearing anecdotes from their youth soccer days. Here are some from this season’s MLS players:

WINNING CAME LATER. Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause recalled his teen years with Carolina United, coached by Elmar Bolowich.

“I didn’t win a state cup once,” Pause said, “but we had a fantastic training environment and a lot of guys developed in that and took it to the next level. Those years were really when I put a lot of energy and focus into developing my game, and Elmar was a big part of it. We were probably one of the most talented teams never to win a thing, but six, seven guys went on to play collegiate Division I ball.”

Pause, now in his ninth MLS season, won the NCAA Division I title at UNC (also coached by Bolowich) and with the Fire lifted two U.S. Open Cups and a Supporter’s Shield.

BOUNCING BACK. FC Dallas’ David Ferreira, the 2010 league MVP, played soccer barefoot on the streets of his hometown of Santa Marta, Colombia.

“One time I slipped and broke my arm,” he recalls. “Right after I got my cast on, I was playing again, because I always love soccer.”

Since arriving in MLS in 2009, Ferreira has been fouled more than any other player, yet he’s started in 68 straight MLS games.

DISTURBING THE NEIGHBORS. Another Colombian star, Fredy Montero, painted a goal on the wall in the backyard of his home in Campo de la Cruz when he was 7.

“My brother was always the goalkeeper,” Montero says. “I scored many, many goals, and I would have problems with my neighbor, with the people who lived next to us. Because whenever I scored it went ‘Boom!’ The sound was really, really bad.”

Montero led the Colombian league twice in scoring by age 20 before in 2009 joining the Seattle Sounders, which he's led in scoring the last two seasons.

THE JOY OF SOCCER.New York Red Bulls playmaker Dwayne De Rosario, who has won four MLS titles with San Jose and Houston, remembered pickup games in Scarborough, Canada:

“We played in the streets, in yards, on fields, in parking lots, at recreation centers, in the lobbies of apartment buildings. There were no restrictions on who played. There’d be little kids and old men. It was play with no stress. Pure joy."

JUGGLING SPORTS:
CJ Sapong, a Virginia product whom Sporting Kansas City grabbed with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, signed up for soccer, basketball and baseball when he was 6:

“It's funny, I'd play a half (of soccer), and my baseball game would be just across the street and I'd go play a couple of innings there, and (then) I'd make it just in time for my basketball game. I remember wearing my basketball jersey underneath my baseball jersey sometimes, just hop in the car and go straight to the (basketball) court, play a couple of quarters and then straight to the soccer game.”

He focused on soccer in high school. “Being that my parents are from Ghana, [soccer’s] what they knew,” he said, “and that's what my dad could help me with when I got home.”

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT. D.C. United’s 19-year-old rookie defender Perry Kitchen started playing when he was 5 and was allowed to move up to a higher age group only because, as his father Chris explains, “After the first game, every little kid on the other team was crying. Perry had decided he was always going get he ball and score.”

Once he entered his teens, Perry joined the Chicago Magic, which meant a commute of more than three hours from their Indianapolis home.

Said Chris, “Perry learned to drive when he was pretty young. I'd say, ‘Perry, I’m tired. You’re driving,' and got in the passenger's seat."

BACKYARD KEEPAWAY: New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream, whose rookie performance in 2010 led to national team duty, had the advantage of growing up with plenty of siblings to play ball with at his St. Louis home:

“I’m the oldest of five children. We always played in the backyard. We had a kick-back net. We were always shooting on each other. Always trying to make each other look foolish. We played four vs. one. Keepaway from the little ones. See what they can do.”

COLLATERAL DAMAGE. A.J. Soares, a first-round draft pick by the New England Revolution out of Cal, broke cabinet doors and shot a perfect circle through a window of his home at age 5 while launching his career.

“My dad made me fix the window,” says Soares. “He helped, of course.”

His taste for glory came, “When I was 12 in the Surf soccer tournament, I scored a great goal from the outside. At the time, I thought there were a lot of fans there. Maybe there were 20, 30 people. They were all cheering and that’s a feeling you get attached to. People cheering for you and your team winning a game. That feeling is something I try to feel everyday.”

(Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, coaches youth soccer for East Bay United in Oakland, Calif. His youth soccer articles are archived at YouthSoccerFun.com.)



0 comments
  1. Kent James
    commented on: April 13, 2011 at 9:36 a.m.
    Not one mentioned the joy of winning their in-house league, getting a trophy, oranges at halftime, crushing weak teams by double digit scores, being yelled at by the coach, traveling every weekend to tournaments; what, didn't these guys play youth soccer?
  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 13, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
    I can tell Logan Pause was coached and developed with the right mentality. They had a strong core of players but were missing a few more to win it all. This forced them to put the team on their shoulders and probably got plenty of playing time. They were good enough to compete with any of the top local teams. Good example of how playing for a modest team like this helps kids develop at a faster rate than playing on select "academy" teams where their minutes are drastically cut and do not need to perform at their highest level since they are sure to win anyways with unlimited equally strong subs.
  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 13, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
    Kent, most of these guys understand what exactly is what helped them develop and this is what they are trying to get out there. Winning trophies or killing teams clearly is not what helped them develop even though most ofthem probably did all those things you mentioned. It's good to see that playing on modest teams, shooting against a wall, playing in a backyard, is what these guys remember the most and what they want to transmit to others.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Tips for attending a college ID camp    
With summer being a popular time for young players to attend College ID camps, we've asked ...
Gottschee and FC Dallas take No. 1 seeds into Development Academy playoffs    
FC Dallas and BW Gottschee of Queens, New York, are the No. 1 seeds in the ...
Teen stars sign with MLS clubs    
In the wake of Atlanta United, set to begin MLS play in 2017, signing 15-year-old Andrew ...
How refs deal with trash-talking    
"Look at the scoreboard" and "You got nothing" are two common things that trash-talking players say.
Does American soccer really only work for white kids?    
Les Carpenter's article for the London-based Guardian on American youth soccer is headlined: "'It's only working ...
Changing the Canvas: Finding Inspiration Outside of our Beautiful Game    
My wife is a developmental psychologist. For two decades she has been studying children and the ...
'Toughest World Cup yet' awaits U.S. U-17 girls    
The USA will face Paraguay, Ghana and defending champion Japan in the first round of 2016 ...
John Hackworth: India experience provides valuable lessons for U.S. U-17 boys    
In its third international tournament of the year, the U.S. U-17 boys national team finished runner-up ...
Adding to the alphabet soup of American youth soccer    
If your children play soccer in the USA, they may be playing under the umbrella of ...
Insights on European scouting of U.S. youngsters by 'Arsenal Yankee' Danny Karbassiyoon    
Daniel Karbassiyoon jokes that Arsenal kept him from going to college twice. The first time, at ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives