To find Grade 8 student Will Baker, look no further than the soccer field. It is where he spends most of his time and his love for the sport runs deep. Will started playing soccer in the Ridgefield SCOR program when he was around 5 years old. “I was never the best player on the team but it was around first grade where I thought that if I work hard, maybe I could become better.” And became better, he sure did. About 2 years ago he joined a Premiere team run by the CT RUSH Soccer Club. RUSH is the largest premiere soccer program in the country. After his first season, Will was named captain of his team for the 2015 Fall and 2016 Spring seasons. Last summer, Will had the opportunity to join a team of RUSH players, mostly from Connecticut, to play in a tournament in Spain called the Donosti Cup. The level of competition was high and the learning experience was priceless. As Will said, “It was a turning point for me. I enjoyed playing with everyone on my team and the experience was amazing!”
CT RUSH fields a national, or select, team for each age group. To be considered, a player must first be nominated by the local and state level coaching staff. There were only 60 kids nominated from across the country in Will’s age category and all of them went to Arizona for a three-day tryout. From there, 32 kids were selected to form two national teams in his age group and Will was offered a spot. Will’s team was one of many from around the country to play in the Desert Classic Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona this past February. They finished second in their bracket and Will says, “It was the most fun I have ever had and I was very honored to get the chance to try out and play.” Looking to next year, Will is planning to play soccer for Ridgefield High School and is looking forward to reuniting with some of his old teammates from the Ridgefield SCOR program where it all began. In the off-season, he will continue with RUSH to pursue his soccer goals and hopes to be chosen once again for the select team. Looking ahead to college, Will is determined to play for whatever school he attends. Whether it’s Division One or Division Three, Will says, “the plan is to play.”
When Will isn’t on the soccer field, you can find him focusing on his studies, playing his guitar or spending time with his family’s puppy. Because soccer takes up so much of his time, finding the balance can be difficult, but Will makes it work. He is excited about this summer when he will be traveling with his RA classmates on a trip out West and about his future after RA. Will, we look forward to following on your very promising journey!