SPORTS HEADLINES

Soccer: Playing up – 8-year-old bests older, more experienced players

By David Talley | Published Saturday, June 4, 2017
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Playing with the 10-year-olds on a Wise County Soccer Association team last fall, Colter Edwards wasn’t hard-pressed to reach the goal on multiple occasions.

But the Decatur local wasn’t 10 at the time, or even 9. He was 7. Colter played on the team to get experience against more difficult opponents.

JUMPING TO THE NEXT LEVEL – Edwards has been tipped as one of the top talents in the FC Dallas youth program. He’ll compete in a tournament in Rockford, Ill. later next week and plans to compete in tournaments in Orlando and Spain later this year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“When you’re 7, 10 is big, as far as gross motor skills and fine motor skills,” Colter’s mother, Sherri, said. “You want the challenge of it, but you also have to factor in injuries.”

The impressive feat is just one on a long list of accomplishments for the now-8-year-old, who played in 99 matches and scored 242 individual goals in 2016. Edwards currently plays multiple positions for three Metroplex teams and will compete in the prestigious Super Copa tournament in Rockford, Ill., next week. He also plans to compete in upcoming international tournaments in Orlando and Spain.

Sherri Edwards said her son’s journey started with the Wise County Soccer Association.

“My older son had played, and we sort of just brought Colter along,” Edwards said.

Colter was just 1 at the time, but Edwards said the family has photos of him playing with a soccer ball then. By age 3, he was on the field, where youth soccer is played in either 3v3, 5v5 or 7v7 formats. Colter said he prefers 5v5 and generally likes to play as a center midfielder, because “everything has to go through you before it goes to the defense.”

“He played four seasons with them, and we kind of went, ‘wow, he’s a little bit good,'” Sherri said. “We started looking into some further play.”

Colter started playing for the Metroplex-based Fever United youth team before joining FC Dallas’ youth program, rising to its premier level where he plays a year above his age. He continues to guest-play for Fever United and led his team last fall to the 3v3 Live National Tournament in Nashville where he scored 21 of the team’s 42 goals.

Sherri Edwards said during the last year, she’s homeschooled Colter after withdrawing him from Decatur ISD so he could continue practicing.

“You can’t miss that much school because there are laws on how many hours and days you have to be there,” she said. “The staff at Rann Elementary were incredibly helpful. They gave us the rest of the year’s curriculum, but they were like, ‘you have to withdraw him because he’ll miss too much school.’ I was asking if I could take him out at noon every day.

“When you have an extraordinary child, you end up having to do unusual things.”

This year Colter has enrolled in a charter school to help maximize his playing and practicing time. With his whole life devoted to the sport, Sherri said their main concern is keeping Colter safe from injuries. He’s broken his arm twice and recently pulled a hamstring.

Colter said he remembers the injuries vividly.

“Another player pushed me from behind, and I landed on my left arm. I broke it again 90 days later,” he said.

Despite their young age, Sherri said Colter and his competitors play hard.

“It’s more of a contact sport than you’d realize.”

Colter is two years away from being old enough to sign a contract to play for a select team, but Sherri said his coaches have told them Colter will likely advance as far as possible in the sport, given time to develop. He someday wants to play professionally for FC Barcelona.

“Coaches will often tell parents what their kids’ ceilings are, like ‘I think this kid could be a collegiate player, or I think this kids could play MLS,'” Sherri said. “We’re consistently told that Colter has no ceiling.”

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