|David Denofreo photo|
Race Williams can still recall the day his soccer career began.
The then-10-year-old had been playing with his classmates before coming home and telling his dad he wanted to join a team.
“It was a Tuesday. I told my dad, and he said ‘get in the truck,’ and we drove around the city and saw a team playing. My dad got out of the car and asked if I could join the team,” Williams said. “That’s how it all started.”
Flash-forward 11 years, and the Douglas College Sport Science Diploma student and has played as a striker for professional teams in Italy, Spain and England, and wants to go pro. He balances that out with a plan to become a physiotherapist once he’s done being the next Lionel Messi.
Williams – who received the Royals Men’s Soccer Athletic Award of Distinction in 2016 – says that even if he can’t play, he still wants to be part of the team – as a physiotherapist.
“Throughout my sports career, I’ve had a lot of injuries. So I know what it’s like to want to get back on the field and get back to doing what you love. And if I can do that for others, and get them where they need to be as soon as possible, that would be great.”
Academics haven’t always been as enjoyable as sports for Williams. In high school, his laser focus on the Beautiful Game resulted in poor grades. But with a push from his grandmother – and a little self-discipline – he said he’s able to balance the two out now.
“I think Douglas was the right step for me. The class sizes at SFU and UBC would have been too much for me straight out of high school,” he said.
After he completes his Sport Science Diploma, Williams aims to transfer to UBC and complete his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, and then a master’s degree in physical therapy. That is, unless his dream of playing for Barcelona don’t come true first.