goalWA.net is pleased to continue with a new columnist to our website. He’s Adam Nowland, founder of Bellevue / Mercer Island area’s Nowland Premier Soccer Academy. Adam addresses soccer topics from his point of view in the new series “Soccer Perspectives with Adam Nowland.”
by Adam Nowland
Youth soccer is a complicated and confusing landscape for the parents to navigate so just imagine how difficult it can be for the player!
Sometimes we as the adults forget to ask the player what they want to get out of the deal. Do they just enjoy the sport and want to play for fun? Is it a social thing so they can be around their friends or make new ones through the game? Are they so passionate about the game that they want to pursue it as a career?
In this week’s column piece, I wanted to let a player communicate what the game represents for him and his future. This player is Dilon Spahia and he isn’t just in the game to have fun. He is as dedicated and determined as they come. I know this because I have personally worked with Dilon since he was 10 years old.
Dilon is now the ripe old age of 13 and has already accomplished so much in his young playing career. After joining NPSA in 2013, he has led his club team to become one of the best teams in the State winning multiple titles.
Through his achievements at Club level, Dilon was identified by the PSPL Surf Academy and has captained this team for the past year or so playing in high level tournaments all over the country.
It was only a matter of time before the local professional club became aware of Dilon’s potential and, last month, the Seattle Sounders invited Dilon to join their Discovery Program.
I was able to sit down with Dilon recently and get his perspective on the game and what his aspirations are moving forward;
What position do you play on the field?
I play center defense currently but can play in midfield or attack too. I feel I am best at center defense but I will play anywhere the coach needs me to play.
Who is your favorite player?
My favorite player right now is Sergio Ramos. He is a great leader and a great work ethic.
What is your favorite team?
To be completely honest, I don’t have a favorite team, although I do catch myself watching Real Madrid and BPL teams. I’m constantly learning from games and highlights to improve my personal game.
If you could play with any player in the world, who would you play with and why?
Since my favorite player is Sergio Ramos, it is a given for me to want to play with him. I think he would teach me as a player, making me better in every aspect.
What is your favorite soccer memory in your young playing career?
My favorite soccer memory occurred late in a game, we were tied 2-2. The opposing team was coming up with a counter attack in our half of the field. Then as they came up I stole the ball off the opposing attacker and made a game winning run through all of the opponent’s defense to win the game 3-2.
What drives you to become a better soccer player?
There are so many other kids with the same dream of going pro later in their life, but only some will achieve their dream if they really want it. This is what drives me the most.
What do you believe is your best quality as a soccer player?
I believe that my best quality as a player is being able to adjust to different levels of play.
What or who has been the biggest influence on your soccer education so far?
The coaches that I have been lucky enough to work with over the past 3 years have really helped me develop my game and attitude towards training. The best overall thing that I’ve learned from my time with NPSA is to have a good work ethic. The coaching staff taught me to always be focused and not worry about mistakes but make sure I learn from them. No player is perfect so I only aspire to be the best I can be every training session and every game. NPSA has the motto, Together Each Achieves More, and I try to use this in the way I play the game and lead the team. I fully believe in the team over any individual player.
You are the captain of your NPSA and Surf Academy teams. What do you believe are the best qualities that make a leader?
The best quality that makes a great leader is to always believe in your teammates and help them in any way possible. Sometimes that maybe just a word of encouragement or demanding a little more from them. I enjoy the role of captain and take the responsibility very seriously.
What goals have you set for yourself in your young playing career?
I want to be accepted, succeed at Sounders Academy, and learn a lot from the coaching staff and players. It’s a big deal to me because this program can potentially help me set up my future playing career.
You have recently joined the Sounders Discovery Program. Tell us about the experience so far. How are you adjusting to this new environment?
The experience is great; I am getting to play with the top players in the state which is really improving my game. As I said, my best quality is adjusting to different levels of play, which is really working out for me in my early experiences with the Sounders Discovery Program.
You have walked into a new soccer environment with new coaches and players. Have you learned anything new from them?
Yes, I’ve learned a variety of new things including different ways of combination play which will help me improve my overall game.
You have a very busy schedule playing with NPSA, PSPL Surf Academy, and now Sounders Discovery. How do you find time to balance soccer, school, and social life?
This one has to 100% go out to my mom. She helps me balance my time, homework, and coordinates who takes me to my practices every day.
Congratulations to Dilon on his achievements so far and I am proud to be associated with such a grounded, dedicated young man. I will continue to support Dilon and his family in any way I can and my advice to our readers is to remember the name!