A Legend is born
At the age of 16 was when Cristiano Ronaldo accomplished his goal when he first signed with his first team called Sporting Portugal in 2001. That was always his dream; he had a great passion for the sport ever since his father brought him into a boy’s club where he was introduce to soccer. Cristiano would sneak out through the window of his bedroom with a soccer ball in his hands and go play soccer with friends, when he was supposed to be doing his homework.
I did not do my homework on the day of try outs, I remember this day like if it was yesterday. I was on my way to the park and as I was close to arriving, I suddenly felt like I had weights on my legs. I felt that my legs weighed over one hundred pounds. I knew that this was the sensation of nervousness. When I arrived to the park, I was astonished by the amount of students that attended the soccer try outs it looked like a commodious crowd of fans coming out of a stadium! With fear inside me I hurried to put on my purple nike cleats from Cristiano Ronaldo I bought these cleats on August a month before soccer try outs and that is where my journey begins. When I heard the whistle I knew that Coach Juan was ready to begin try outs and I felt unsecure, nervous and unprepared.
We were set in teams of six. The team I was in was going to play first. Coach Juan was ready to observe the following teams and everybody glared at the ball like if we were dogs after a piece of meat. The ball rolled and I was ready to take control over it. I juke players here and there, ran through the sidelines like a cheetah and controlled the ball like if they glued the ball to my purple cleats. The mini soccer game had ended and Coach Juan asked me “Hey, what is your name?” I replied, “Elias Leon” I knew right away that I had hope!
Hope, hope was exactly what Cristiano Ronaldo had when his team Sporting Portugal played against Manchester United. At the age of sixteen in 2001 they faced each other where Cristiano amazed the Man U teammates and the head coach as well. At the end of the game the Man U players told the head coach that he should do anything he can in order to sign Cristiano Ronaldo into the team. The Man U coach approached Cristiano and said, “So you are Cristiano?” Cristiano replied, “Yes sir.” The coach replied, “You played great out there.” He then said, “Thank you.” It was not before that Manchester United and Sporting Portugal came to an agreement about Cristiano’s transfer to Man U, where Manchester United paid 12 million euros for Cristiano’s services. That was a big amount for a young player like Cristiano, breaking a record fee.
The following week everybody was eager to know who had made the team. Everybody was questioning if they made the team like if they were detectives. As soon as they announced the list was going to be up during lunch, everybody was full of curiosity, but I felt nervous at the same time. When lunch arrived I saw a lot of students rushing out the classroom like rhinos. As I approached the list, I saw happiness in many shouting “yes!” and in others disappointment saying “maybe next year.” I perused the list and... I saw my name, Elias Leon!
The Second Step
After making the high school team I always wore my purple cleats, I worked hard to get on the team. Now the second step was to win myself a spot on the starting squad. It was a very cold and dark night around 8:20 p.m. with 25 minutes left on the referee’s watch the score was one to one; it was a tie a game. Coach Juan tells me, “start warming up really quick, you are going to go in on the next play” with nervousness and determined I simply replied “ok.” As soon as I was ready, Coach Juan called in the substitute right before going in Juan tells me, “I want you to run up and down the sideline…I need you to get them tired these last twenty minutes.” I simply nodded, touched the field, touched my purple cleats and blessed myself. First ball I touch as soon as I step foot into the field the first ball I lose I felt like a dog running down the streets. It did not take me long to actually find myself inside the field, I did exactly what the coach said, on the last five minutes of the game the players from the opposing team were exhausted. Everybody in the crowd was anxious to know how the game was going to finish. In the last few minutes one of my teammates crossed the ball to the other side I ran with full speed to the center I passed through the whole defense stopped the ball with my chest and kicked the ball inside the goal and scored!
Throughout my high school years I did not want to let go of my purple cleats, the cleats I scored my first goal with the high school soccer team and stayed champion for two years with my purple cleats.
Sophomore year, this is my year, I am captain this is the year we are named champions! I remember this game like if it was yesterday we played one of our main rivals College ready #11 it was a rainy day on the month of January around 6:00 p.m. the park was full of people, families and students eager to watch the final. This game went all the way to penalties, every player was exhausted it seemed like we could not even take a step because then we would fall. Our first four players scored the penalty shot then the fourth player from the opponent team missed it looked more like a field kick like in football rather than a penalty kick. Lastly it came down to me if I scored the penalty we were champions! I got the ball and kissed it then I put it right down the goalie approached me and told me “I’m going to block this penalty” with confidence I responded “ok it’s going to your left.” So the referee whistled as soon as he whistled I pointed to the goalie’s left and shot it there and scored the penalty. I shouted from the bottom of my lungs and everybody ran to me after I scored the penalty kick!
Purple cleats, what I thought were some simple cleats like any other, now they are meaningful to me. They represent confidence and perseverance. My cleats have represented how my life has been during a soccer game; life can be tough like any intense soccer game you might think that you lost everything and you cannot accomplish a goal in mind but in the last moments if you give it your all you score! Till this day I still have my purple cleats I accomplish a lot with them I made the high school soccer team as a freshmen, scored my first goal with them in high school, named captain during sophomore year and champion as well and finally in my senior year in the final I wore my purple cleats just for that final and was named champion once again!
This built confidence in me because when I first arrived at the park I doubted myself and my talent. This made me reflect that whatever I put my mind into I know that I can accomplish it. There would be a time where I know that at a certain point, I would doubt myself, but all I can do is not let insecurity get in the way of what could be a talent, an accomplishment or in my case “The Goal!”
Elias Leon attends California State University, Northridge. Majoring in Business management.