Young athlete focuses in on the game of soccer

Speed is the best aspect of Steele’s game, he said.

Young athlete focuses in on the game of soccer
October 03
02:45 2019

For Antwan Steele Jr., the game of soccer has been a passion since before he entered kindergarten. Now that he is in the eighth grade, his love for the sport has grown exponentially and he is looking forward to new challenges.

Steele is a 12-year-old student at Jefferson Middle School. He has been playing soccer since the age of four. He also enjoys basketball as well, but soccer has really taken root in his heart.

“I enjoy the teamwork and it’s just a different type of bonding than with basketball and football,” said Steele Jr.  

Steele Jr. used to play flag football as a youngster, but says the team chemistry aspect of soccer really attracted him to the sport. Over the years, Steele has practiced relentlessly to perfect his skills on the field, because he knows the competition level will jump considerably on the high school level.

“I think it will be a challenge, but I think I can do it,” Steele Jr. said about his transition to the high school level. “I know it will take more aggressiveness and hustle, but I think I can do it.”

Steele Jr. is aware that African Americans do not flock to the sport of soccer as they do football or basketball. He says he does not focus on that aspect, but instead just wants to enjoy the sport he loves.

“It doesn’t matter what anyone else plays, or what anybody else likes, as long as you like it and you put the work in, you can be successful,” Steele Jr. continued. “Hopefully, more people will see you doing well and say they can do it too. Then, more people can start liking the sport.”

Steele Jr.’s parents were surprised when he came to them about playing soccer at the age of four. They were not familiar with the sport, but quickly noticed his talent on the pitch.

“We knew nothing about the sport and never watched a game,” said Leah Steele, Steele Jr.’s mother.

Steele Sr. said, “I had been pretty active with him with football and basketball, so when he said he wanted to play soccer, we put him out there and when they said how good he was at the ripe old age of four, the next year you might want to move him up. Each year he would move up and when he turned seven, he started playing competitive club ball.”

Steele’s parents say one of his best qualities is his perseverance. Once he has his mind set on accomplishing something, he gives it his all until the goal is met, they said. He has also never been one to follow the crowd; he seems to march to the beat of his own drum, they said.

According to the Steeles, club soccer is very similar to AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball. They say you must make sure you choose a quality team to have your child play with, so he/she does not develop any bad habits when they return to their school team.

Steele Jr. primarily plays forward on the field, but says he will play anywhere his coach puts him. That mentality has Steele Jr. focused primarily on his defense moving forward. His favorite player all-time is Pele.

Steele Jr. is an honor roll student and his favorite subject is math. His parents say the focus of their household is academics first and athletics second. He is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a Crosby Scholar and a member of the Duke TIP program.

The Steele family has not decided where Steele Jr. will attend high school. They stated they will leave that decision up to him.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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