27 Sep Player Insider: Returning to Barça Residency Academy
Player Insider: Returning to Barça Residency Academy
By: Matthew Hoppe
September 27, 2018
My name is Matthew Hoppe and I am the striker for Barça Residency Academy’s U19 team. I am originally from the suburban city of Yorba Linda located in Southern California. I have one brother, Thomas, and one sister, Taylor, who are both older than me. My parents are Tom and Anna, and they were both raised in Southern California.
I started playing soccer at the age of four and fell in love with it instantly. I played it growing up and worked hard and trained every day. I was coached by my dad and a few other key coaches throughout my life. I played locally up until the age of 10 when I finally decided to make a move to a club team. I would drive forty minutes one way which was a very difficult and long process. At the time, I played with FC Golden State. With my years there, we won league several times, many tournaments, and even regionals. After some years, I decided to make a move to Galaxy. After one season there, I moved to Strikers. Strikers were based out of Irvine, which is where I created many great friendships. During the summer of 2016, I heard of a very unique and different opportunity. This opportunity gave me the chance to be able to be linked directly to the best club in the world, Barcelona. I saw the advertisement posted on US Soccer and decided to give it a try.
I came out to one of the summer camps and played well. The coaches were very impressed with me and offered me a spot on the 17 academy team. That year was one of the best years of my life. I created many friendships, bonds, and memories that’ll last a lifetime. The style of play was something very new to me. This methodology focused on playing beautiful soccer. At first, it was very difficult to do. Mistakes were bound to happen, especially with a new team and a new style of play for everyone. However, after hours of hard work and practice, we fought through the struggles and ended the season strong. We ended up placing third in the DA playoffs, which is a huge achievement for a first-year team. I personally ended the season with 29 goals and many Top Drawer Soccer standouts, which was something new to me. Barça Academy helped me in every way they could and gave me exposure to many coaches and colleges which is very helpful.
I came out to Casa Grande, Arizona, to help me try to achieve my number one goal, which is to play soccer professionally. I believe that my time here has been very beneficial. I have learned a lot about the game through the coaches and their personal experiences. I also learned the importance of working out, eating healthy, and taking care of myself better. On top of that, I have learned a sense of independence and balance as I had to manage everything on my own. This includes school, soccer, and even my social life. I managed to get excellent grades, stand out during games, and have fun with everyone around me. Though there were some rough times, I don’t regret anything I have learned or experienced from last year. That is the reason why I came back this year.
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