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Joel Houston: A Pro in the Making

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Sophomore Joel Houston blends into the consistent wave of black and khaki that floods the halls of our school. Many of you do not know that we share the hall with a rising soccer prodigy with professional potential. That’s right, Joel Houston occupies a spot on the U-16 team of Atlanta United FC, a team that is a part of MLS, or Major League Soccer in America. In other words, Joel could be playing professional soccer matches in two years while we sit in our mundane classes. Houston embodies a highly motivated character, a confident personality, and a fluid playing style that has helped him envision a future of playing professional soccer in the European League. However, all stars have humble beginnings.

“I got into soccer at around the age of eight, when my brother joined his middle school soccer team at Hillcrest Middle School, and we just played together all the time,” says Houston.

Starting at such a young age with an older sibling to learn from reflects Joel’s dominant style amongst players his age. Joel has always been ahead of the game for his age group, remarking that playing with an older crowd has done a significant amount to his development as a player. He also uses the immense challenges club soccer promotes to further augment his skillset. This extracurricular league hosts like-minded youth similar to Joel. The competitiveness and sheer skill of these players pose a threat. This demanding league opened the door to Joel’s potential professional career.

“My coach [Matt Brophy], who has been coaching since the 90s, knows a lot of people, and is the only reason I’m playing for Atlanta right now. I was playing in Tennessee on a Sunday, and I had a goal and an assist in the game, and we won 5-1. A scout told me he wanted me to try out for Atlanta because he knew the head athletic director. So we set up a date for me to try out, and I got asked to come back,” says Joel.

What started with a reference from a coach and a scout turned into an open door, with a room full of opportunity. Joel has done nothing but seize this opportunity as he has played in Houston, Texas, along with U-16 members of the Toronto FC, a team from Holland, and multiple teams from Mexico. Playing at this prestige all comes back to mentality for Houston. This factor is key to success.

“You need a lot of confidence. If you don’t believe you can beat the next player, you aren’t going to make it,” says Joel.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Joel Houston: A Pro in the Making”

  1. 1 rebmun nosrep modnar on February 13th, 2018 3:40 pm

    Beautifully executed, flowed very nicely but I heard Joel played for the u-15s

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Joel Houston: A Pro in the Making