BAASL Featured Player: Kaleb Wagoner

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Please share with us about your background as an athlete/player.

I have been playing sports since I was old enough to hold and kick a ball. While my father would have preferred for me to play football and basketball, I fell in love with baseball and soccer. I have played soccer in club, high school, college, and as an adult in Indiana, California, Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea.

What do you like about the league?

The best thing about BAASL is that it is a great balance between social and competitive.

What do you enjoy doing outside of soccer?

I enjoy reading (non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy), cooking, traveling, and playing board games.

Are there any soccer figures/people you admire and what about them do you like?

My favorite soccer player is Laurent Koscielny. I love that he plays for Arsenal and plays defense the way it is supposed to be played. I also admire Didier Drogba. While he mainly played for archrival Chelsea, his contributions to society are amazing. 

What is your fondest memory of soccer?

I have so many fond memories playing soccer it is extremely difficult to choose a favorite. I think the best soccer memories I have are with friends I have made along the way.

Was there any experience in particular that influenced your love of soccer?

I fell in love with soccer in kindergarten. I remember looking forward to recess everyday, so I could play soccer with my friends.

Do you have any rituals you do before playing a game? 

While I do not have any soccer rituals, I do refuse to cut my toenails the day before a game.

What do you think the future of soccer in the U.S. will look like?

I would like for soccer to become the most popular sport in the U.S.; however, I think it will be difficult as long as the U.S.'s athletes continue to gravitate toward basketball and football.   

Anything else about yourself you'd like to share with the BAASL community?

While I tend to be a bit competitive on the pitch, I hope to get to know more BAASL players.

 

 

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BAASL Featured Player: Deidre Theis

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Please share with us about your background as an athlete/player.

I have been playing soccer for a little over 18 years. I tend to either play striker or left half back. I have played on rec teams as well as competitive teams and I currently play on a co-ed team and two all women teams.

What do you like about the league?

I really enjoy playing for this league because I have so much respect for the league administrators. The league is very organized and guidelines are set up fair for both, players and administrators. The talent in this league is also quite phenomenal and me being a competitive player I enjoy playing against raw talent.

What do you enjoy doing outside of soccer?

I am very fitness driven so I enjoy going to the gym or outdoor activities (mostly swimming and hiking). I’m also a full-time student and spend lots of time with family. I have recently become a soccer referee as well which has been an awesome experience.

Are there any soccer figures/people you admire and what about them do you like?

I follow the USA Women's National team and go to many of their games. I recently met Samantha Mewis at their game a few months back when they played at Avaya Stadium. I also flew down to LA just for the day to see the women's double header tournament. I think Samantha is a phenomenal player and a key component to the USA Women's National team. Also it is badass seeing our team out there killing it against some talented countries.

What is your fondest memory of soccer?

Honestly I have too many fond memories. I have been playing soccer for such a long time that I don’t consider it just a sport anymore, it’s a lifestyle. But when I think about soccer in general the best time for me are the days that I get to play for hours on end and until my legs are too sore to move.

Was there any experience in particular that influenced your love of soccer?

I started playing soccer as a kid to blow off energy and my passion for the game took on a life of it’s own. I currently play on 3 different teams, and if I’m not playing in a game, I’m either at pickup or reffing. Soccer will always be a part of my life.

Do you have any rituals you do before playing a game? 

I’m not sure I would consider them rituals, but before the game I will do the FIFA warmup and dynamic stretching. I have suffered from some soccer knee injuries so I must make sure that I warm up my knee.  Other than that, I have certain soccer attire I will always wear during games and that is about all.

What do you think the future of soccer in the U.S. will look like?

I think the future of soccer in the US is constantly growing. More and more talent is being discovered and kids are starting at such a young age. I love the fan base that soccer has and how it brings people from all walks of life together. I see the talent continuing to grow, and I will enjoy going to even more games. 

Anything else about yourself you'd like to share with the BAASL community?

I think the BAASL is a great community, and I would love to continue to meet everyone through pickups and more BAASL social event to celebrate our love for the sport.

 

 

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BAASL Featured Player: Anthony De Souza

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Please share with us about your background as an athlete/player.

I always was a basketball player growing up. Started playing soccer at 15. My first soccer team was High School JV.

What do you like about the league?

It's very organized and the fields are great. Also, every [11v11]game has three referees, most other recreational adult leagues settle for one ref. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of soccer?

Outside of soccer I enjoy traveling. Recently I did 3 new states and Europe. My girlfriend and I are total foodies, too. We’ll hit the road for an hour just to taste something new.

Are there any soccer figures/people you admire and what about them do you like?

Neymar. The difference between a technical player and a skillful player is pressure. Skillful players perform the most technical skills under pressure, and there aren't many that do it like him.

What is your fondest memory of soccer?

My NPSL team just made the final 4 out of 94 semi-pro teams nationwide. We played at Yale in front of 2,300 fans. I have family from NY and they made the drive to Connecticut to watch. We didn't win but I'll never forget the experience.

Was there any experience in particular that influenced your love of soccer?

My father is Brazilian, so soccer was always pushed on to me. At first, I hated it and just wanted to play basketball. It wasn't till I went to Brazil my 8th grade summer and took a camp out there. They had me training with 6 year old kids because I was so bad. I took it personally in the best and channeled it competitively--haven't stopped playing since.

Do you have any rituals you do before playing a game? 

As I age...Ibuprofen, lots of Ibuprofen.

What do you think the future of soccer in the U.S. will look like?

The most conversational topic is Promotion/Relegation. I see arguments for both sides but as a fan I just hope soccer in the USA becomes competitive with Europe, and I think it will within ten years. Also, I think youth soccer in the USA is going to become more data driven. Scouting and training will become about numbers as sport science and technologies emerge. 

Anything else about yourself you'd like to share with the BAASL community?

Check out Shadelands Sports Mall coming soon to Walnut Creek. There's going to be a huge soccer specific training center. I think the BAASL community will benefit and enjoy. www.shadelandssportsmall.com

 

 

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