Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

Essays, Player Reviews, Scouting Reports, Events, Match Reviews, Statistics and Things of no Importance

About Madi

How It Began

When I was eleven years old, I developed a crush on Cristiano Ronaldo. Luckily for me, he played for one of the most consistent and tactically gifted teams on the world football stage and what started as a hunt for eye candy rapidly developed into a deep appreciation for the sport and an even deeper passion for it. I was born and raised under the occasionally sunny skies of Seattle Washington. Although Seattle is referred to as the “Soccer City” of the United States, die hard soccer fans who can relate to your level of passion for the sport are very hard to come by. However, the relationships that I have managed to build through soccer and directly because of soccer are ones that I would never trade. The bonds that I have built with people through soccer are completely different than any relationship you will ever have with anyone else. Sometimes I meet someone on the soccer pitch and we may see each other for coffee or dinner just once before going our separate ways but we stay in touch better than lots of the “friends” that I have had for almost my entire life. 

My Love Affair With FC Basel

In 2009 I watched the highlights from Switzerland’s U17 World Cup match with Japan and I found myself drawn to the team, and more specifically, the players. Maybe it was because I was a soccer-boy crazy fourteen-year-old girl at the time, or maybe there was some slightly neurotic genius behind my reasoning. Either way, after I saw that game I searched every channel on our TV to try and find their next game. The closest I could get was a live broadcasting of the final. At the time I was still unsure of whether or not the Swiss side would even make it to the final but they seemed to be doing well in their group so I hoped that they would reach the last stage. As I watched more of them online and eventually found myself cheering them on enthusiastically in the final, I realized that I was in fact drawn to the playing style or maybe just the plain swagger of certain players. Granit Xhaka was one who jumped out at me. He was versatile, athletic and showed such vision on the field that as a player, I immediately envied his talent. Even at 17 his field intelligence was unbelievable, and hasn’t he come a long way! I was also particularly impressed with Janick Kamber, who stood out more in terms of being a flashy player with an incredible amount of finesse and pace. To me, they were the two most well-rounded players on the pitch and I wanted to find out which fantastic youth academy was responsible for creating these intelligent, athletic and all around talented players.
My love for FC Basel was sparked by those two players in 2009 and since then has developed into something that quite frankly terrifies the average soccer fan in Seattle. I could name the entire roster, and most likely tell you previous clubs each player has represented. I know ages, positions, special talents and I obsess over statistics and tactics. I don’t need to elaborate how beautiful the soccer that Basel plays is, or how fantastic it is to be an FC Basel fan; that’s a given. 

Bringing Soccer To The World

This January, my best friend and I embarked on a long-term project to transform a small group of villages in Nehemiah, Kenya into a functioning soccer club. At the moment the project is moving slowly since communication is so difficult, but Lexi, my co-founder, will be visiting this summer and will try to move things forward. It is my dream, and the dream of the rest of the founders and people backing the project, that the club we develop will unite communities, provide guidance and education for the youth and bring joy to all of the people who are touched by the beauty of the game and the unity it creates. My ultimate goal in life is to be happy and share my undying joy with people all over the world. If I can do that through the beautiful game, I will feel like I have accomplished my ultimate goal. 

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