HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s something special about passing on our love of the game to our children. In the case of Gerardo Duran Sr. and Gerardo Duran Jr. that game is soccer.
The elder Gerardo put Junior — better known as Chula — into soccer at the age of 4, before there was even a team he was old enough to make.
“I created a team when he was 4 years old and at that time there were no soccer teams of his age,” Gerardo said. “There were older kids so I had to put him in a different age bracket and he was always getting mad or frustrated because he wanted to win when we would lose by so many goals.”
But there is no denying the love of the game passed from father to son because Chula took to it almost immediately.
“The very first time I kicked a ball I just fell in love,” Chula told KOIN 6 News. “I don’t know. I just fell in love with it.”
Since that day he’s had a one-track mind: “My goal is to be a professional soccer player.”
And that’s a dream his dad wholeheartedly backs. “School is important, as well, but we know that he wants to be a soccer player and that’s the biggest part that we talk about.”
That dream is filled with many little steps in the same direction. Chula started on a club team when he was 12, made the Timbers Academy roster in middle school and started attending classes throuogh the academy after his freshman year at Hillsboro High School.
Just a few months ago it felt like there was a breakthrough when he found out he was called up to practice with the Timbers first team.
“I started freaking out,” he said. “I just saw it on my calendar and then I told my dad and my parents I was freaking out.”
Chula said it was amazing to be with “all those great players. It’s good experience. They were just helping me, they were telling me not to be nervous and stuff and just be me.”
And every step of the way, his proud papa just gets more proud.
“For me, it’s an amazing thing because I played soccer as well. And watching him play soccer it’s an amazing thing because it’s like a reflection,” Gerardo said. “Even though we want different things, even though we don’t want exactly the same thing, it happened. And to me it’s great.”
Gerardo Duran Jr, aka Chula, is the Athlete of the Week for November 15, 2019.
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