17-year-old soccer player CJ Nelson won bronze in a provincial soccer match! Playing centre-back for the Southwest United 06 Premiers in the Tier 1 Calgary Minor Soccer League, Nelson and his team fought hard to earn the medal.
The Southwest United 06 Premiers are not only a top team in the province, but a top team in the entire country, as they're ranked 10th. However, unfortunate seeding actually placed the 4th best team in the country BTB in the same group. While Nelson and the 06 Premiers fought hard, they fell to BTB twice 1-0, which prevented them from getting a shot at the gold medal.
"We were obviously upset because we thought we had a good shot at Nationals, but it is what it is," Nelson said.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on gold, Nelson was still happy with the bronze, and felt quite good about his performance.
"I was told by even the other team's (BTB) coach that I was the best player on the field and that felt really good because it was my first real game playing centre-back, and I felt like I shut down the opposition's offense. Even though we did lose, watching back the film, I do think that I was one of the top players on the field for the whole 90 minutes, and that just made me really confident in the position I play now."
As Nelson mentioned above, he was moved to centre-back for provincials, but he actually played different positions the entire season. He thrived in his new role and expects that to be his main position going forward.
As for what the future holds, Nelson isn't fully sure how he wants to approach a potential soccer career but explained he's already been in talks with several post-secondary schools. He's also considering going pro in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) and explained there's a clear path for him to pursue if he wants to go that route.
"A bunch of players from my team are joining the men's team for Southwest United and they're actually moving up to League One, which is the league under the CPL. I'm really close with the coach of the League One team and he consistently tells me that there's opportunities where I can possibly make the CPL team."
After joining the League One team, he could possibly carve out a role for himself on the under-21 Calgary soccer team, Cavalry FC. Having proved that he can already hang with some of the best young players in the country, Nelson is excited to continue developing his talents to take his game to the next level.
"My body is very good for the sport I feel, so if I can continue to develop my skill and IQ I think that will really help."
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