Tell readers a bit about yourself. 

I grew up in Palm Coast, FL with my Mom, Dad and older brother Nick. I attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School before going to FPCHS. I continued my journey in the 386 to Stetson University where I graduated in 2019. I was lucky to be born into a big family that supported my brother and me with all our endeavors. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and other extended family all live in Palm Coast as well so the family gatherings were always fun and memorable. Ever since I can remember we were outside playing all types of games and sports but there was always one ball we’d find ourselves playing with the most…and we weren’t using our hands.

You’ve just signed your first professional contract for soccer. How did you get into the sport? 

My Opa played professional football (soccer) and played for his country’s national team, Suriname, a Dutch speaking country in South America. Seemingly enough the love for the beautiful game was passed down two generations to my father and aunt, and then my brother and me. Being the youngest of the family, I loved competing against my brother and the other bigger kids. I couldn’t have made it this far and signed my first professional contract without the constant time spent with my brother and my best friends in the street, at the park, and even inside the house (RIP to the many things we broke…sorry Mom). Soccer is all we knew: we would wake up and watch games, talk/think about it all day, practice outside when we got home from school, and even cry when the rain would cancel our club team training at night. I have to thank soccer for helping me make friendships that will last a lifetime.

For young aspiring athletes, what does it take to become a professional level athlete? 

Becoming a professional athlete is all about working on yourself when no one is watching. Every day is a blessing. If you can get better every day, then you are headed in the right direction. Even losing a game or making a mistake can be important in the long run; learn and compete with yourself to be the best version of yourself. Having a checklist every day and trying your best to get as many things crossed off as possible: getting good sleep, eating healthy, working hard on something (even when you don’t want to), and most of all having a balance. For me, life isn’t only about soccer. I spend time with loved ones and enjoy the little things off the field so that when I return to it, I remember why I’m doing it…because it makes me happy. Finding happiness through hard work is the key!

What’s been your biggest challenge and your biggest accomplishment so far? 

My biggest challenge has been leaving the only place I’ve ever lived, my hometown. Moving to Phoenix has been eyeopening and adjusting to the new environment has given me a boost of confidence. I am proud to be a professional and represent a new community of soccer-lovers. I want to continue to give back to the beautiful game what it has given me. My biggest accomplishment so far would probably be the fact that I have been able to enjoy the best things in life as well as accomplish my dream. I am a man of faith who has graduated with an IB diploma, an integrative health science degree, traveled the world, met extraordinary people and learned many things…but I’ve also been able to wear the jerseys and colors of my community and and be a leader for the next generation.

How has your family helped you achieve your dreams and where do you go from here? 

Without my family, I would not be the young man I am today. The feeling of looking into the stands and seeing a crowd who have dedicated so much to my journey means the world. Even thousands of miles away they tune into every game and wish me luck each day. In all seriousness, I am the luckiest boy in the world to be a Monsanto. The only place for me to go from here is up! I am excited for my journey to take me to new places that I’ve never even imagined.