"Football is not to play, it is to live." - Cristiano Ronaldo
When most people see Dennis Valdez on the soccer field, they are usually surprised by his height and his young age compared to his teammates. However, when they see him play they are immediately assured that this tornado of skill and energy belongs nowhere else if not on a soccer field.
Dennis began playing soccer at the age of six, and by the following year he was playing competitively. Surprisingly, it was the same aspect of height and age that should have been his biggest challenge that made him one of the most disciplined and focused players on his team. Dennis knew that it was not his height or his age that would make him a great player, but rather his skill and his love of the game. With soccer practice up to five times a week, he definitely developed that skill and love, and most importantly, the healthy attitude of not being discouraged by losses – “Losing happens in all sports, so I tell myself to stop being sad when it does happen.” Now, Dennis travels to many international competitions and soccer camps, and he has grown only more focused and disciplined. Finding the balance between being confident, but not overly confident, has helped him to remain calm before his matches.
Even though he has role models like Messi and Ronaldo, who are soccer players, one of his greatest heroes is Usain Bolt – “I think that with his speed, he can achieve anything in any sport, and I would really like to meet him.” One of Dennis’ greatest goals is to play for Chelsea FC or Real Madrid like his heroes Messi and Ronaldo. However he is determined to also be a good role model for younger children, and to never become rude and undisciplined like some of the popular soccer players of today.
Dennis loves his teammates and feels that their encouragement and hard work help them to get along in training and make them a strong team. He feels that teamwork will propel him through many things in life, especially when applying to college since schools will not just look at his academic achievements but his sports achievements as well.
Dennis’ greatest reward for his dedication and hard work was when he was selected to play at the AC Milan Junior Camp and when he was named 3rd best player in the Valencia Camp.