He plays against kids who have nothing but a soccer ball and the whole day to practice their game. Lachlan Will, who coaches say can kick from 20-40 yards out and have a good shot at a goal, is just 12 years old, but more talented in the game of soccer than kids years older.
A student at École Cedardale, Lachlan plays every day – after school and at recess, and practices with his High Performance League (HPL) Mountain United Football Club (MUFC) teammates 3 times per week with a game each weekend, mostly as a centre striker, but occasionally on the wings or as centre attacking mid. MUFC is one of eight regional provincial teams from around the province that compete at a high level. He also volunteers with the West Vancouver Soccer Club, helping younger kids with their game and spends Pro D days volunteering with the club. In his spare time, he trains with two other coaches to fill in the rest of the week.
“There are kids in Brazil like Neymar – these guys can and do play with their ball 24/7 – so I really take every opportunity to build my skills,” says Lachlan. “I’m working a lot on my foot skills and developing body strength, because this is a huge advantage when you consider the differences between the game in Europe and North America.”
In addition to all the practice, games, volunteer work and coaching he undergoes, Lachlan works on his physical strength daily by doing sit ups, push-ups and stretching before bed and his hip flexors, leg strength at the gym 1-2 times per week.
“The next three years are critical for developing my foot skills,” explains Lachlan. “After the age of 18, there’s not much you can change – you can make slight tweaks based on what team wants you to do – but your shooting and passing technique is kind of locked down by age 18.”
The regimen he’s following is the key to maximizing his chances to play for BC, and professionally beyond North America. European players tend to be smaller, but play a very tactical game. All this work is paying off for him – his record for juggling a ball (keeping it in the air with his feet) is 1118 consecutive times.
“Having the height advantage now, I will have a lot of strength and power when I’m older if I keep this up,” he says. “I need to be strong and fast with the added ability to play a solid tactical game.”
To say he’s passionate about the sport is an understatement: his knowledge of the game and its personalities on both sides of the Pacific is nothing short of astounding. But when you start playing at age 3 or 4, have supportive parents and good coaching to build your game, your passion can’t help but get a boost. Names like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba are all familiar to him – and he’s got his eyes on the same prize.
“I’m lucky in that I’ve been exposed to great European coaches and amazing coaches right here in my own club,” says Lachlan. “In the summer of 2014, I was selected as one of 6 kids out of 300 to go train in Barcelona, and spent a week there totally immersed in the game.”
With all his passion for sport, Lachlan is a very good student academically, and enjoys reading adventures and providing advice to his sister, Grade 5, on her game.
“She’s really a talented player, but I think the main difference between us is that there is very little that is more important to me than the game – she’s got to change that if she wants to play professionally.”
Pretty good advice, Lachlan! Have fun and keep up the great work – we can’t wait to see you soar higher!