Each month we will celebrate one player that demonstrates the attributes that exemplify the Barefoot Method. These qualities include playing free with a smile, creativity, leadership, no fear of making mistakes, good sportsmanship, and elevating the players around them.
Our Barefoot player of the month is one of the most talented players in our Barefoot Academy: He is not afraid of dribbling and taking on defenders using his special moves. He has developed great confidence with the ball and his game continues to improve. Reid had a great performance in Winston-Salem that confirmed the great player he is, and the Barefoot coaching staff wanted to give him this special recognition because of his hard work and dedication being reflected in his game.
Reid was first exposed to futsal in the summer of 2017 at the age of six when he began attending open play and summer programs. Still unsure about this new sport, Reid returned to recreational soccer the following fall. However, in the winter of 2017, Reid decided to fully commit to the Barefoot Futsal Academy and has not looked back. His parents say that since then, Reid’s futsal game has accelerated: "He has learned to work in tight spaces and has developed confidence in taking on defenders. In addition, he has learned to execute moves that once felt impossible, such as the Maradona, Elastico, and Rainbow".
Reid is part of our full time 2018/2019 Barefoot Academy with his brother Zack. Reid also plays on the U9 Barefoot-Futsala Development Academy team in its inaugural year.
Last year Reid played in the Savannah and Atlanta soccer tournaments, as well as the Wilmington futsal Turkey Tournament. He also played in the F5 Futsal Regional futsal tournament with his DA squad which advanced to nationals. Additionally, Reid was a part of the previously mentioned strong performance in Winston-Salem and plans to play in the North American Sand Soccer Championships in Virginia Beach this June.
Congrats Reid for being a great ambassador of the #MethodBarefoot with your unique futsal style!
Our Barefoot player of the month is known by his self-discipline; he never misses a training and does the silent work that has as a reward. A unique style based on creativity, self-expression, and strong finishing skills that scare every goalkeeper. Nicky Jam has been with Barefoot for 2 years and his game has reached a top level of technique and control over the ball, which makes him a super fun player to watch and a great ambassador of our #methodBarefoot
Nicholas started in the spring of 2017, when his parents started to look for something beyond recreational soccer. During the summer of 2017, after attending a couple of open plays and a Barefoot summer camp, Nicholas fell in love with futsal, and that was all he talked about. By the fall of 2017, Nicky Jam joined the full time Barefoot academy and he started being fully immersed in the Barefooot method.
After several months, his parents could see that his ball control, foot skills and technique started to get better and he was developing a new unique style. One of the first moves that he learned early on was the reverse L. That was just the beginning, since he started mastering moves like rainbow, scissors, scoops (cucharitas), walking the dog and his favorite, Maradona. His new challenging passion is “the bicycle kicks”.
Nicholas really likes to attend open play sessions since he can explore his creativity and try his new moves. He likes futsal because it allows him to compete in a more condensed space which presents an opportunity to practice his 1v1 skills. He also likes the 1stand 5thattacker: he plays as a goalkeeper and a field player at the same time. Most importantly, Nicholas loves his futsal teammates! Nicholas’ parents also add that “we love that we have chosen Barefoot academy as it has allowed our son Nicholas to step out his comfort zone and explore his creativity. We also love that Barefoot is a positive fun environment; Coach G’s technique is so unique and outside the box and he teaches the kids persistence and never give up attitude”.
Besides the Barefoot Academy, Nicholas is part of the U9 Barefoot-Futsala Developmental Academy in its inaugural year, as he has competed in many futsal and soccer tournaments like Savannah Invitational, Atlanta soccer tournament, F5 Futsal Winter League, and the Southeast Regionals.
North American Sand Soccer Championship in Virginia Beach
Coach G defines our March Barefoot player of the month as "gritty, fiery, dedicated, hard working, developing such a unique style!" She express herself on the court and she is not afraid of trying her special moves during training or games. Competitive, owner of one of the strongest "puntazos" ever seen and always willing to learn more about the game. All these characteristics make “Machete Maka” a really exciting player to watch with a soccer style that represents the Barefoot DNA and makes her stand out from the rest.
After attending numerous Open Play Saturdays at Barefoot, Makayla asked her parents if she could begin playing futsal more regularly. Eventually this led her to becoming a part of the Barefoot family in Winter 2017 through the F5 Futsal league with Barefoot's house team and Core classes. Makayla couldn’t get enough futsal and subsequently joined the Barefoot Academy in Fall 2018.
Makayla likes futsal because it is challenging, she says that “the ball moves so quick which means I have to be fast and have great technique,” adding “there is a lot of good technique in futsal.”
Why Barefoot, “It is fun and the coaches teach me a lot. I have learned how to do rainbows, scoops, Ls, swipes, walk the dog, wedge chops, magic wands and try to do them in games. I also can practice all of my moves at home to get better.”
Maka currently attends the Barefoot academy with her twin sister Kiana and her younger sister Elena. Kiki and Maka are part of our U10 girls developmental academy team. She has also participated with great performances in many futsal and soccer tournaments with Barefoot: Savannah Invitational, VA Beach Soccer, Wilmington Turkey Tournament, Atlanta, F5 Futsal Winter League, Southeast Regionals and the USYF Nationals in Kansas City. Makayla will be representing Barefoot in June at the USYF National ID.
Way to go Maka!
Barefoot FC ushers in 2019 with our youngest player to receive this award. Resilience, dedication, and always playing with joy are just a few of the qualities that have earned Kailani Chigaru the first PoTM for 2019. Read his fantastic story below.
Those that know Kailani best will tell you he was born to play soccer. Though his parents tried to allow him to explore other sports, soccer was always his first love. Even as a toddler he had a natural talent and he would often be seen kicking balls around the house in his diapers. At Freedom Park he would skip the playground and go to the soccer fields for 2+ hours until his parents dragged him to the car.
Having talent is only half of what makes Kailani special. He has an unwavering passion for excellence and teamwork that can be hard to find at his age.
His father, a college athlete, understands the importance of the impact that playing sports can have on kids and so as soon as possible his parents started to look for opportunities for Kailani. Unfortunately, being that kailani was so young there were not a lot of programs for his age range and NOBODY would consider his skill ability. It was always an automatic no into any program. Luckily, they happened to come across Barefoot FC after listening to numerous parents from other clubs rave about Coach G. The Barefoot coaches graciously took Kailani under their wings even though he was the youngest in his program at 3 years old.
Now, 2 years later, Kailani has grown to LOVE everything about futsal. He has learned a great deal from technical skills, goalkeeping, tactics, to different styles of futsal. He even had the opportunity to learn and compete in a national sand soccer tournament thanks to Barefoot FC.
In his parents words...What we appreciate most about the futsal program and Coach G are how they also teach resilience and "Never Give Up" mentality. A month or so ago while practicing rainbows in mastery class Kailani lost his footing and fell right on his face knocking out 2 teeth and loosening 5 others. After a traumatizing ER visit the next day he begged us to take him to watch his teammates in their winter league games. It was hard for him to not be out there with his futsal buddies but he loves the sport and his teammates and just being around futsal lifted his spirits. Even though it was tough to see Kailani go through an accident, it was amazing to see how his teammates and coaches rallied behind him and supported him through his recovery. Barefoot FC has become like a second family for Kailani and we look forward to many more years with Barefoot Futbol Club. We are so grateful for all the wonderful coaches, the parents, and the players who have always been so great and patient with Kailani and our whole family.
Kailani hopes to one day play for his 2 favorite teams Atlanta United and Manchester United.
Jackson began in the barefoot program at the u10 level. To be perfectly honest when we say began, it was an intermittent level. He mostly joined when he knew his friends were around or there was a lack of other options presented. He did however, catch on quickly and have a self declaration that futsal made him better. It made him more creative on the pitch. It made him more comfortable on the job. Made him have a bit more swagger with the ball. He took his first trip to Colombia as a 14 year old and was immediately pulled into the culture, the dedication of the craft and the level of development required to make it to the next level. As he worked with Coach G and with the Itagui team he saw his skill improve and as the skill improved, the confidence blossomed and he began to put in extra time on his own or with friends he would drag along to the court or to the field.
Jackson started for the Providence High School team as a sophomore and this year led the squad to a final eight appearance in the state tournament, scored thirty goals and assisted on over twenty of Providence’s tallies. In recognition of his performance he was selected as an all conference, all region and all state player and chosen by the coaches as the South Meck 7 4A conference player of the year for 2018.
“I play futsal to get the feel of the Colombian way to play, the flair, the aggression and the freedom. I go there to learn, it’s all about learning in any sport you play. Without Coach G and Barefoot FC I would not be the player I am today."
Check out the shot technique on #6!
Alonzo was first exposed to Barefoot in December 2012, at 11 years old, when he participated in the F5 Futsal winter league. He took his first class in Spring 2013 and it was quickly evident the improvement in his touch and movement on the ball with the Barefoot Method. He participated in the Academy program the following year and weekly core courses the year after.
In May of 2015, Alonzo became a member of the inaugural Barefoot Itagui U14 (01-02) soccer team. The following year with the change to birth year he was forced to find another team and played the next 2 season for Gaston United on their U16 and U19 teams. He also guest played with Itagui when they played up in tournaments. This year he will return full time as a player for Itagui 4.0, as they participate as a U18 team. He is also a member of the U18 Barefoot-Futsala USYF Development Academy.
Alonzo has experienced 2 incredible Barefoot Immersion trips to Medellin, Colombia. His first trip was in 2015 for 2 weeks and again in 2017 for 4 weeks. On both trips, he trained daily in Futsal, Freestyle, Beach Soccer and Capoeira with local school, club and professional teams/players. He also had the opportunity to be immersed in the culture and attend several professional Futsal and Soccer games, including Atletico Nacional.
Alonzo attends Gaston Day School in Gastonia, NC where he is currently in his Junior year taking a combination of Honors and AP classes. He is a member of the National Honor Society, JV basketball and Varsity golf teams, in addition to competing for his third year on the Varsity soccer team. His playing time and contributions have steadily increased year over year, with him starting all 15 games this season and providing an impressive 19 goals and 10 assists to their 14-1 record. This earned Zydeco Zo a spot on the All Conference Team! Vamos Barefoot!!!
Paige Santos joined the Barefoot Futbol Club last November after falling in love with futsal during one of the summer camp sessions. She is our inaugural player of the month due to her high level of dedication, her wonderful work rate, her cheery personality that raises everyone around her, and her ability to always play creatively with a smile. Her tremendous accomplishments in such a short period of time are foreshadowing to the fantastic things in store for this All-In Barefooter.
Over the past 10 months, Paige has fully immersed herself in the Barefoot Method and this summer was no exception. Paige started the summer with her first ever beach soccer competition in Virginia Beach. Shortly thereafter, Paige attended the US Youth National ID Trials in Kansas City where she was selected to be an alternate on the 07 US Youth Girls National Futsal Team.
Following Kansas, Paige used her sharpened footwork to win herself camp MVP while attending the UNC Charlotte 49ers Outdoor Soccer camp.
After that it was off to Medellin Colombia for two weeks with the Barefoot Immersion program. Paige was able to train in Capoeira, Beach Soccer , Freestyle and lots of Futsal.
The freestyle sessions were her favorite, but training with the local clubs at Envigado, Corozonista and Calasanz was also a blast.
For most soccer players, the end of the summer means the beginning of outdoor club soccer. Paige recently started her outdoor season with the WCWAA Weddington U12 Girls Black team.
When Paige isn't on the Futsal court, she is putting the same hard work and effort into her schooling. This year Paige will be attending 5th grade at Weddington Elementary where she expects to rejoin the Broadcast and Battle of the Books competition team. Paige takes pride in being a straight A student, and loves to challenge herself with other school activities like the School Spelling Bee where last year she was the school's Spelling Bee Runner up.
Cameron joined Barefoot at 11 years old, and trained weekly with Barefoot Futsal over a three year period. The impact of the Barefoot Method is on display through Cameron's success in both the outdoor and indoor environments seven years later. In 2014, Cameron was selected to attend a U.S.
Soccer Federation's Training Center (U.S. Soccer Training Centers are designed to replicate national team training camps). In 2017, Cameron was named a Regional selection for USYS, and ultimately named to the US Youth Futsal National team.
During the 2017-18 outdoor season, Cameron played in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy in Charlotte, NC. For the 2018-19 season, he plays for U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy in Raleigh, NC.
Trevor is one of the original Barefooters, joining the Barefoot Tribe at 8 years old where he trained weekly with Barefoot Futsal. He remains loyal to the Barefoot Methodology more than seven years later, and continues to train in our Barefoot Futsal program as his outdoor club schedule allows.
Trevor is a former USYS Regional and National Team selection, and has played in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program for the past 2 years in Charlotte, NC. His international experiences includes three Barefoot Immersion trips South America, training with teams in Brazil and Colombia.
In the fall of 2018 Trevor committed to play soccer in college at Division 1 Elon University.
Like his brother, Trevor, Kyle was in our first class of Barefooters over seven years ago, training three times each week. The Barefoot Method still plays a role in Kyle's development, and he participates in our Barefoot Futsal programs as time and scheduling permits. Kyle has been selected to:
USYS's Regional I.D. Camp in Kansas City, KS, and also named to the USYS National Team. During both 2015 and 2016, Kyle was chosen to the GPS/Bayern Munich National Team. In 2017, he was selected to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Futures National Camp.
Currently, Kyle plays for U.S. Soccer’s Under 17 Development Academy team in Charlotte, NC. His international experience includes three Barefoot Immersion trips to South America, training with clubs in Brazil and Colombia.
Thaddeus first joined the Barefoot Tribe in December 2014, and continues to train weekly at our Barefoot Fútbol School in Charlotte, NC. He was named to the USYS Regional I.D. Camp in Kansas City, KS in 2016, as well as being selected to the National Team that same year.
Thaddeus has broad international experience training with clubs in Europe and South America. He has made two Barefoot Immerision trips to Colombia (2015 and 2017). The 2017 experience allowed Thaddues to be the first member of the Barefoot Tribe to live, study and play in Medellin. As a member of Itagui Soccer Club's 2002 team, he was able to train daily on both Futsal and outdoor soccer teams.
He currently plays for US Soccer’s Under 17 Development Academy team in Cornelius, NC.
Blake joined Barefoot Futsal Academy in 2011, and was a dedicated year-round academy member through 2015. During this time, he was named to multiple U.S. Youth Futsal national teams. In 2015, Blake was rewarded with an opportunity to join the U.S. Soccer Federation's Development Academy program at FC Dallas, where he is currently in the second year with the '03 boys. The U.S. Soccer Federation most recently called Blake into its Futures National Camp in 2017.
A veteran Barefooter, Samy joined the Barefoot Tribe in 2013 at the age of nine, training weekly in our Barefoot Futsal program. He remains connected to our program today, training with our staff whenever his schedule permits. In 2014, Samy was selected to the USYS Regional I.D. Camp in Kansas City, KS, upon which he was named to US Youth Fustal National Team. The following two years (2015 and 2016), Samy was selected to the GPS/FC Bayern National Team, and became one of only two boys in the U.S. to attend a trial at the Bayern Munich youth academy in Germany.
Altanta United FC selected Samy to join their youth development academy in 2017. Most recently (February 2018), Samy was selected to attend the U.S. Soccer U14 National camp in Chula Vista, CA.
Ava has been a Barefooter for the last six years. She has made one Immersion trip to Medellin, Colombia. She is the first high school student to attend the Barefoot Futbol School. Ava has been the captain of the 2004 United States Youth Futsal National Team for the last 2 years in a row and has also earned six additional caps with the 2003 and 2002 teams. Her futsal national team travels have taken her to Colombia, Costa Rica and twice to Canada. She continues to train with Barefoot and even helps coach the younger age groups as time permits.
Ava was invited to US Soccer Training Camps in November 2017 and 2018. She was captain of her Region 3 team and currently plays with US Soccer's Development Academy 2004 team in Charlotte, NC.
Jeanette started with Barefoot when she was 4 years old. She attended the Barefoot Futbol School for the 2017-18 academic year.
She plays for US Soccer's Developmental Academy 2004 team in Charlotte, NC. Jeanette has been the captain of the 05 girls United States Youth Futsal National Team for the last two years in a row. She was also invited three times to US Soccer National Market Training. Jeannette has participated in one Immersion trip to Colombia.