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Last week we were invited back to Nelsen Middle School’s “Impact Day” for the third consecutive year! Former Seattle Sounders Marcus Hahnemann and Santa Maria Rivera had the honor in representing Redapt this time around.
This year’s theme was focused on “Do What You Love” and both Marcus and Santa Maria had plenty of stories to share about how they were able to do what they loved – playing professional soccer at the highest level – by setting simple and achievable goals while they were middle school students themselves.
During one of their stories, Hahnemann shared how being cut from the Washington State Team at an early age served as a catalyst to pursue soccer with a different intensity and purpose. When it came to choosing where to play in college, he decided to attend Seattle Pacific University, the same college that Washington’s State Team starting goalkeeper had committed to. It was his goal to out duel him for the starting spot, and it was this competitive desire that made him into an English Premier League and World Cup goalkeeper for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
On the other hand, Santa Maria shared how one moment in his childhood turned his whole world upside down. During the 1998 World Cup in France a young English footballer by the name of Michael Owen terrorized defenders with his blazing speed and fearless attacking flare. Owen had such an impact on Santa Maria that he made it his life’s mission that soccer would be his way out of the agricultural fields of Yakima to college at Seattle University, culminating in a professional career with the Seattle Sounders.
While Marcus and Santa Maria came from very different backgrounds, their passion for the game and their desire to pursue what they loved payed off for both of them. One of them achieving World Cup glory with the United States Men’s National Team, while the other fulfilled his dreams of being the first in his family to graduate from college and play professional soccer.
“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” – Albert Einstein