Soccer Player Finds Family in Sport

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Soccer Player Finds Family in Sport

Madi Karshbaum

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Senior Nathan Atkinson first found his passion in soccer when he was just a kindergartener.

From kindergarten to fifth grade, Atkinson played recreational soccer on a small. team. When middle school hit, it all became real. It was time to start competitively playing.

“When I first started, I played for Maple Grove from kindergarten to first grade,” said Atkinson

Maple Grove was a good fit to start, but then he was moved to the St. Francis District and he had to switch clubs. North Metro Soccer Association welcomed him with open arms and taught him what he knows today.

“I realized when middle school started,” said Atkinson, “that I needed to start playing competitively.”

Again, North Metro had his back. When he first started competitive soccer, he made the C3 team. He was content with that for a while, but then he started pursuing higher level soccer. When he became an eighth grader, he started to play for the high school.

“From still being in middle school, I definitely had some competition,” said Atkinson.

He started out at the bottom and rose to the top through lots of hard work, training over three hours a day. For him, varsity has gone from just a team to a real family.

“The first two years were rough,” said Atkinson.

He sat on the bench a lot and he started to question whether or not he was good enough. Then he got the opportunity to play with the Eden Prairie Premier club team. He was training six days a week and his skills and confidence grew. Along with that, he earned a starting position on the SFHS team.

Atkinson said that it was harder to get to know his teammates when he wasn’t a starter because there is a bond that forms when a team plays consistently together as a unit.

“But as I got to know the guys, the easier it got to talk to them,” he said. “Before I knew it, we were a close knit team, and I was just glad to be a part of it.”

People say that sports teams are just teams, but Atkinson knows that his is a second family.