Adina Brenner ‘20
When it comes to most juniors, the stress is at an all-time high come fourth quarter. Not only figuring out colleges they will be applying to but what their future may hold can feel like the biggest decision of their life. For junior Noah Atanda, this process has gotten a little less stressful for him compared to his classmates. After receiving offers from numerous schools, including those as prestigious as Yale University, Atanda decided on March 3 of this year that he will be spending his college career playing center mid and center back for the soccer team at Brown University.
If you ask someone what they did as after school activities as a child, more than likely their answer will be play on some sort of house soccer team. For little kids, this is practically a requirement in their youth. Unlike most who play for a few seasons and finally just quit, Atanda started playing soccer at the young age of three years old and instantly knew it was the sport for him. “It kind of ran in my family, so I was basically destined to play. I fell in love with it the moment I first stepped out onto that field,” said Atanda.
After playing house soccer for about two years, Atanda, as well as his family and coaches, decided it was time to amp up his game. At five years old, he started playing for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy at Bethesda Soccer Club, a local youth organization known for its intense and competitive training and ability to take its players all over the world to compete. In fact, Atanda has travelled as far as Argentina, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany throughout middle and high school.
Many may see soccer as simply just a game, but to dedicated players like Atanda, it is so much more.
“We practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday with games every Sunday. Our practices consist of 30 minute warm-ups followed by scrimmages and other drills for two hours,” said Atanda. “It takes a lot of hard work and determination, but when you really enjoy something, it’s worth it.” With the hours of commitment, as well as the constant world traveling, Atanda has been supported by his loving and encouraging family who are always on the sidelines cheering him on, especially his father who previously played soccer himself for the University of Virginia.
With the devotion and responsibility of being on such a competitive team, Atanda has not had the opportunity to play for Sherwood like most other high school athletes. Rather than switch to Sherwood’s team as an incoming freshman, Atanda decided to stay with Academy as there were more opportunities to play for a college team there.
Although he has dedicated his adolescent life to playing soccer and will continue to at Brown, while there, he hopes to receive a top-level education, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in computer science or economics.