Athletic Ambitions

Grace Roddan

For most high school students, sports are for fun, exercise, and meeting new people. In some cases, students choose to become more competitive and dedicated to a single sport, and this is the case with freshman Westley Watts. 

“I play for a club called OPFC (Oregon Premier Football Club),” Westley said. “I have been playing there for four years”. He plays as a forward on his team, and has been committed to one sport his whole life. 

Along with practices multiple times a week and games every weekend, his team travels several times a year for various tournaments and games. They travel around two times every month to Seattle, Westley said, and sometimes go farther to places like Arizona. Not only is this a huge time commitment, but traveling is expensive and tournaments require team hotel rooms, food, and flights. 

“I enjoy traveling,” Westley said. “We have a good team chemistry so everyone’s fun to hang out with, good memories”. 

One of the most important elements on a team is chemistry, and the OPFC team apparently has a great bond and can translate that well to the field. They spend tons of time together on and off the field, and have been playing together for a very long time. 

“I like the team collaboration, and that you have to work hard for each other to achieve a similar goal,” Westley said.

One of the main reasons people refrain from becoming more competitive in sports teams is schoolwork and other extracurricular commitments. Especially during high school, homework piles up fast, and time on weekends is a lot of students’ main way to catch up. These sacrifices are sometimes not worth it, and other priorities outweigh those in a sports team. 

According to Westley, the main events he sacrifices with his time are “social things on weekends” and “not seeing his friends as much.”

Another aspect of life he must learn to balance is his academic goals and dedication. Although people can be very talented in a sport, they still must keep up their grades to a certain standard for college acceptance and school team guidelines. 

When talking about how being in a very competitive team has changed his school and home life, Westley said there is “a lot less time for homework.” Due to this, there are lots of late nights studying after practices or on planes. Westley has missed days of school from traveling, which can be a lot to catch up on at once. 

Academics still seem to be a very important priority. Westley would be open to play in college and will work to get a scholarship, but still has goals outside of playing soccer.  

“Yeah, I don’t think I want to play D1 though,” Westley said. “Because then I would have to give up on academics.” 

As a freshman, Westley was invited to play with the boys varsity soccer team at Lakeridge, for a few of their last practices in the season. Westley said it was fine, although he is a lot smaller compared to the varsity players. 

Soccer has always been, and will continue to be, a huge part of Westley’s life. While sports remain to be a fun and social aspect in many students’ lives, Westleys choice to focus and dedicate to a more competitive league has overall benefited him. 

Westley’s future goals for his sport are “to play in college,” and to “become a better version of himself” as a player.