06 Apr Player Insider: The Path that lead me to Barça Academy
Garrett, Barça Academy U-16 Player
April 5, 2018
From the day that I first touched a soccer ball, I knew my life would always have something to do with soccer. I had always had a dream of playing for Barcelona, but I never knew it would become a reality.
My life began when I was born in Edina, Minnesota. My parents, Terry and Shelley, have always been supportive and loving of my younger brother, Logan, and I, ever since we were young. We grew up in a family that encouraged grades more than anything so I would have never expected my soccer career to have as far as it has.
By the time I was 3, my family and I moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, because of my dad’s job. Many opportunities awaited that we had no idea about. Even though we left everything we knew behind, it turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made.
I began preschool there and started to make friends. After preschool, we all went to the same elementary school, Cheyenne Mountain. At the beginning of kindergarten is the year I started getting into all sports like basketball, football, and soccer, but I knew soccer was going to be the one for me because there was just something different about it and started making new friends. My mom signed me up for a local club named Pride, and I also started making friends through it. Every other day we would have training and every time I would be ecstatic to go. As I started to progress, with the help of my parents I went to Pikes Peak Rush.
I joined Rush to help get myself more looks, as they are a bigger club, and improve my soccer skills. My first season at Rush I made the top team but we only played in Premier 2 and did not do well at all and eventually got demoted. Even though we were not a good team I was still able to learn a lot and was thankful for the opportunity. At the end of that season, they asked me to play up on the second older Rush team. This team did do better, but we still struggled to get results. Through those years we struggled to win at all but I played a year up for one year so I got a lot of experience playing against older and better kids. After this last season at Rush, I decided the best decision to further my career would be to go back to Pride. I tried out for the top team there, The Pride Predators. When I finished my two-day tryout, the coach told me that I had made the team. I was extremely happy for this opportunity to play with, what was the best team from my area at the time. During the season we played in the top division in the state and finished third. At the end of my first season with The Predators, Pride got an Academy team and my family and I thought it was the best decision for me to go to it.
When tryouts came around I played very well and at the end of the tryouts, the coaches asked me to play up on the U-14 Academy. Throughout the year, we would be playing top-level teams from many different states. Every practice and every game made me excited because I knew I would be getting looks by top recruits in the nation. Throughout the season we would struggle in many of the games to get good results, but I ended up starting 15 of our 18 games and showed very well for scouts.
By the end of this season this would also be my last year of junior high at Cheyenne Mountain. At the end of May, my dad brought up an opportunity to move to Arizona because of his job. Growing up in a small town such as Colorado Springs and moving to such a big city as Chandler, Arizona was going to be a tough challenge for me. At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t know anything about the schools or any of the soccer, but the opportunity turned out to be a life changer.
At the end of June, my mom and dad got me a tryout at what the time was Real Salt Lake Academy. We already knew it was turning into Barça Academy and I thought it was an amazing opportunity to go and tryout for the team and if I made it, to have the possibility to be on the team I dreamt of being on since I was 4. My parents were very kind to me allow me to tryout for the Academy, especially since it was right in the middle of our move and they could’ve focused their attention on more important things for themselves. After my first tryout, they were interested in me and invited me back for a second tryout. After this second tryout, Coach Brady gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and offered me a position on the U-16 Academy. With no hesitation at all, I accepted this invitation and then the soccer began.
At the end of August, I finished all of the paperwork and I was ready to begin. For the first couple of weeks, I thought I was going to be one of the top players on the team and almost thought my starting spot was guaranteed, I was soon to be proven wrong. I’ve had to work extremely hard and put in tons of time off of the field to increase my playing time.
I live 35 miles away from Barça Academy and attend a high school in the area, therefore I commute to Barça Academy for training and games at least five times a week. Since my move to Arizona, I have had to get used to an all new environment and meet all new people but it has been a good experience for me.
As a commuter, I have to get all of my school work done before I leave for training at Barça Academy. My parents have always encouraged grades more than anything else and sometimes it gets challenging to continue to stay focused with both school and soccer but I know it is best for me.
Everything during this year, school, family, and soccer related, would have never happened without the help of my family and I am very thankful for everything they have done for me throughout my life journey. I would especially like to thank my brother for always being kind and supportive no matter the circumstances and that it really means a lot to be able to know you’ll always be there for me. Sometimes I do miss where I grew up and all of my old friends, but I have now realized that it was for the better as what is life without adversity. Through all of the decisions we have made, through all of the rough patches, they are the reason I am where I am today and I would just like to thank them for that and everything else.
I’m excited for what the future holds in Barça Academy and cannot wait to see how many new opportunities arise in the coming years.
Want to be a part of Barça Academy? Register for camps at:
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @barcaacademyaz for all your Barça Academy news and updates.