My name is Justin Burke and I am a soccer player. I am 5’11” and weigh 135 lbs. I attend Lamar High School in Houston, Texas. Lamar is an International Baccalaureate High School. I am striving for the IB Diploma and currently hold a 3.8 GPA. I plan to attend a four-year university and, although I haven’t decided on a major, I know I want to pursue a field in which my sports knowledge can be an asset. I am considering sports management or possibly sports medicine. I will graduate in 2020.
In addition to playing varsity soccer for my high school, I play for my club, Albion Hurricanes, on the highest level ECNL team. I am an important asset to my team. I am a humble person. I believe in “team”. I generally play at outside back, wingback, midfield and center back. As a player, I have strong technical skills and game knowledge. I am capable of winning the ball, finding good passing options, and putting good balls into the box. I consider my game as one of finesse. I play with a calm and collected attitude. I would say my style of play as an outside back provides just as much of an attacking option as a defensive one. I like to get forward and take players on 1v1. I recognize moments when I should attack and provide support and create overloads. I know when to build and when to be more direct in possession out of the back.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a soccer player. My dad is a soccer player. I remember going to his games as a toddler. I would dribble my little soccer ball up and down the sidelines while watching him make amazing runs and scoring goals. I loved watching those games. I loved playing with my dad. At three years old, my parents signed me up to play soccer at the YMCA. That was it! It was my sport. I played basketball, baseball and even football along the way, but no other sport thrilled me like soccer. It brought out a passion in me that lead to an unstoppable drive to be better. Through soccer, I have learned commitment, determination, and respect. I joined Albion Hurricanes when I was eight years old. I have never missed a practice or a game and always jump at the chance to join in on additional training with older teams and other coaches. I have learned self-discipline and perseverance. I seek outside private training to improve my game and work on my own to make sure I push myself to the limits.
From the very beginning of club soccer, I always made the “top” team. I never took it for granted and worked very hard but I never had to face not making it. All of that changed the first time I tried out for ODP. I made the South Texas team and was chosen for the regional pool in Alabama. Once I got there, I was shocked to find that I hadn’t made the top team there. I was faced, for the first time in my life, with failure. It was tough. I was at a crossroads. I thought about all the hard work I had put in and, for a moment, felt it was for nothing. The moment passed. I dug deep and decided I would be the very best player on the second team. I worked hard and did well. I learned a lot about myself that summer. I was not a quitter. I was not going to let that moment define me or kill my confidence. It pushed me. It motivated me to work even harder.
Soccer continues to make me grow as a person in terms of discipline and confidence, and it continues to show me the value of hard work and dedication. As a student athlete, I will continue to improve as a player, a student and a person. My team will be my family as we work toward the common goal of success on the field and off.