PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Almost every high school sport has a club sport counterpart, the one athletes play in the other months outside their high school season. Many have to balance the two, but making the switch isn’t always easy.
Since he was 7, Saul Sosa has had a soccer ball at his feet. The Cleveland High School junior said he’s “gone through a lot with soccer, like, I’ve gone through the ups and downs and just, like, overall it’s made me a stronger player.”
Those highs and lows helped him gain a drive that he feels makes him go harder in games.
“It makes me go harder if I miss. I just keep going so I think I just have a different drive than maybe some other players that I play against.”
It’s paying off. Through 4 games, Sosa has 6 goals and 3 assists with the Warriors. Despite being an upper classman, this is his first year wearing the green-and-gold since he played last year with Timbers Academy.
“The players and the coaches there are excellent,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s just a really good place to grow and I think it’s just given me a lot to where I am now. So I’m thankful for that and I think it’s just made me a better player overall.”
After a year of the grueling academy requirements, Sosa decided to switch to high school. Cleveland High Head Coach Nick Yoder is grateful to have Sosa’s experience on the team.
“It’s just nice to have him kind of learn those other experiences,” Yoder said. “High school is so different from the club and the academy, especially. I always talk about it like it’s the national team, club vs. country. A lot of players will play for their club and then for a few weeks out of the year they’ll come play with their country, like their international games. So he’s kind of doing that with us now. It’s like he’s coming and playing with his high school.”
For Saul Sosa, the change of pace has been good for his game and good for his love of the game.
Yoder said the teen brings his experiences to the team and is able to elevate everybody’s play. “He’s doing a great job with that.”
“I really like the team,” Sosa said. “Everybody really works well together and it’s a really good, like, positive place and it’s a really good place for me as a player to grow.”
Cleveland High School junior Saul Sosa is the KOIN Athlete of the Week for September 20, 2019.