Written by: Enrique, Barça Academy U-19 Player
Dreaming big is something I have always done and will always give my all in order to accomplish that goal. I was born in the very small city of Yuma, Arizona, it is so small to the point where everyone knows each other. I have an amazing family of four that is loving, caring, and supportive. My father, Enrique, was born in the city of San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. He has three jobs, he’s a manager at Jiffy Lube, he washes cars, and does yard work as well. My mother, Maria, was born in the city of Yuma and has been a medical assistant for 19 years. Last but not least, is my little brother named Andrel who is 14 years old and is attending Cibola High School in Yuma.
My parent’s childhood was quite different from others and difficult due to the fact that my father lost his father at a young age and my mother lost her mother at a young age. Therefore, they never gave up and we’re committed to providing me and my brother with the best possible experiences. I am truly blessed to have my parents along with my brother because I would not be where I am today without them. They’re what inspire me the most to do better because I just look back at what they went through and hopefully as the years go by I aim to take over and provide for them.
A year ago my father suffered from pancreatitis, he had to go through a major surgery to get it removed. He is now diabetic and recovering from the surgery. These past 2 years have been rough, not only for me but for my family as well with all those sleepless nights at the hospital and the long drives that came with it. It was an instant change for everyone and we had to adapt quickly. My little brother and I would have days alone at the house because we both had soccer events to attend. We still managed to attend practice/games even with little sleep, this was all worth it in the end when we knew everything was going to be okay.
My passion for soccer began when I was 5 years old playing in the city league. As I began, people started me calling me “happy feet” reason being is because I would run so fast that I would trip over my own feet and I could never stay up on my feet. I’ve always dreamed of being a professional soccer player and told myself that I’d be there one day. Then as I got older I had the opportunity to play for a club called Southwest FC. As soon as I joined the team that is when I started aiming even higher for my dreams because my coaches Santiago Aguirre, Aparicio Moyon, and Nestor Moyon made us believe that we can do big things depending on how bad you want it. They were very supportive along the way. Their work ethic was amazing and training every day with the club was useful.
Next, high school was right around the corner and one thing that I could not stop thinking about was the soccer tryouts, I was getting really nervous and would just ask the upperclassman so many questions about the team. Until this day I remember some of the guy’s at tryouts would doubt me because of my height and would not think I was capable of playing up with them. The day of the tryouts had finally come, I was getting very anxious thinking about it. At the end of the school day, the session started and we went straight into scrimmaging. However, as the scrimmage when on, I began scoring goal after goal which boosted my confidence even more in that level of play. As days went by, tryouts ended and it was time for the roster to be announced. The coaches started with the freshman roster and I was expecting my name to be called out for the freshman, but I did not hear my name. Next was the JV roster and my name once again wasn’t called out. This left me a bit confused and worried, at the moment a lot was going through my head. Finally, the varsity roster was called out and my name still wasn’t called, but then at the end the coaches congratulated me and my friend Fabian for being the only two freshmen on to make the varsity. This was something big to me because that hasn’t happened in years and was a major accomplishment! The season ended a few months later and I ended up scoring a total of 17 goals which my family and I were proud of. I made the all-region team and was selected as the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Year. This was a tradition I kept up as I was also selected for the all-region team every year until my junior year.
Following my junior year, a sudden change occurred in my life, one I was not expecting. I signed with Barca Academy and on that day I knew I was going to be at the right place. Leaving everything behind was quite of a challenge and difficult for me. Just knowing I wasn’t going to be able to be doing what others are doing is what impacted me the most. In fact, I knew it would make me different from others because I would not be living every moment as a normal teenager and would be on a different path. Everything was unexpected and happened so fast and I am happy this positive change has occurred in my life.
Barca Academy has taught me many new life lessons and responsibilities, for example, the importance of being on time. Before coming here, I struggled with punctuality and my first few weeks I still struggled with that. As coach Sean says, “On time is late” and that is something that I won’t forget. The soccer here is amazing! We have a great coaching staff here guiding us to be the best soccer players we can be. Playing in the DA academy is something I have never experienced before, but I’m blessed to be playing in such a competitive league in my last year of high school. One of the best things about the academy being residential is that I have created so many great friendships throughout the year and it feels great seeing your brothers and being able to train with them every day.
Once again, adapting to this wasn’t easy. Being on your own is something that is difficult, but thanks to everyone here at Barca they’ve made it easy for my brothers and I here at the academy to adapt. The transition happened so quickly, I was here and training before I knew it, I didn’t imagine it being like this but I love it. As I mentioned earlier, my goal is to keep striving for more and to put my name out there so my family can be in good hands. The months here have been amazing and I would not want to spend them anywhere else. Without the support of my family, I would not have been able to be a part of this wonderful experience.
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.