Young soccer star taking advantage of new opportunities

(Jonathan Segal/ The Beacon)

Photo by Jonathan Segal

Francisco Rivero/ Staff Writer

In a soccer team that has a player tied for second nationally in goals, it’s easy to overlook the other key cogs that keep the machine running smoothly.

While sophomore forward Colby Burdette doesn’t have numbers that star teammate Quentin Albrecht has, Colby certainly has the same passion. Burdette, a Boca Raton native, discovered his passion for soccer at an early age.

“I think it was the second grade and one of my neighbors played soccer. I always saw him come home in a jersey and one day I asked him, ‘hey what do you play?’” Burdette said. “He told me that he played soccer so one day I said ‘I want to play with you.’ So he brought me into an indoor league over the summer and that’s where I just started loving to play soccer.”

In his career, Burdette has gone through a slew of soccer coaches. However, he singles out his parents as his biggest influences. Burdette was the first athlete in his family and his parents did everything they could to make sure he attended every practice and game.

Burdette continued developing, then scored a goal that he says will stick with him for the rest of his life.

“In high school — the year we went to states — we reached the regional semifinals and there was a play at the top of our corner. I did a couple of combination plays in the middle of the field and I was able to cut it outside and score a diving header,” Burdette said. “That was the goal that was able to take us to states, so to me, that’s the goal that stands out the most.”

For head coach Kenny Arena, Burdette’s aggressive playing style is no surprise.

“Colby is an attacker, he can stretch teams and he’s very dangerous when he’s running with the ball at his feet,” Arena said. “He’s good in the air, and in the box I’d say he’s even a winger or a high forward.”

As Burdette got older and enhanced his skills, he found himself at crossroads when it came to picking a university.

“Up until the last couple weeks of my senior year, I had no clue of where I was going to go. I was kind of struggling in school, I wasn’t sure of what I was going to do until I was offered a scholarship here at FIU,” Burdette said. “My mom and I thought that we should take the offer in order to get a good education and continue playing soccer.”

Now in his sophomore year, Burdette hopes to further improve his skills with every opportunity. He says that a lot of it is about the mental aspect of the game.

“I’ve learned a lot more, I’m a little more quick-minded, my fitness is a lot better and with Kenny coming in, my all-around game has just increased significantly.”

As of Sept. 21, Burdette ranks second on the team in goals and shots. Arena suspects that his success will only go up from here.

“I think that Colby just expects himself to be successful now,” Arena said. “He expects himself to be dangerous, expects to score, to get assists and to do his job defensively. He’s got a good level of understanding of what is expected of him and he demands it of himself as well.”

About the Author

Francisco Rivero
: FIU Student Media Sports Director, Co-Host of Panther Sports Talk Live, Sports and Opinion writer, Communications major.

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