Our August athlete spotlight came with multiple recommendations because he’s just that good. A gifted and talented center midfielder his soccer career has been filled with great success. He plays not only locally at the Club level, but regionally at the State level , and now internationally as well. A Chattanooga FC Academy 2001 Premier standout and this month’s spotlight athlete of the month is Casey Beck.
CFCA: Tell us about your soccer career so far.
Casey: “Well I started when I was 4 (North River Rugrats) and I played in Cleveland when I was 5. When I was about 6, I think, I started playing in Dalton in a competitive league down there. My brother was playing down there so my parents just brought me down there. For U9 and U10 I started playing for East Ridge. I played center mid in the 6 vs. 6 format. For U11, I played for Chattanooga United when that was a club. I played for their ’01 team. For U12, I played back in Cleveland. I’ve been here (Chattanooga FC Academy) ever since.”
CFCA: Do you play high school soccer?
Casey: “Yeah, I play for Cleveland High. I’m center midfielder there as well.”
CFCA: How is your high school soccer experience so far?
Casey: “Well it’s definitely physical. You learn a lot of the physical attributes of the game.”
CFCA: Tell us about the role of a center midfielder. What is your role on the field?
Casey: “Well my role on the field in my eyes is to basically control the game. To get the ball, pass it out somewhere else and help dictate the game. Most of the time I’m looking out wide, to try and spread the field.”
CFCA: Who is your coach?
Casey: “Jimmy Weekly.”
CFCA: How has training been with Jimmy so far?
Casey: “It’s been going good. We’ve had just about 5 or 6 practices so far. I haven’t gotten really used to what he’s doing yet, but I think he’s gonna be a really good coach for us.”
CFCA: What’s your first big test this year?
Casey: “Well, we’re going to North Carolina this weekend to play a regional league game.”
CFCA: How do you prepare for a match?
Casey: “Usually I just do regular team warm-ups. Nothing special right now.”
CFCA: We hear you recently played in Ireland. Tell us about that.
Casey: “Well there were 5 kids from Tennessee and the rest from the U.S. and Canada. They just picked a team. We never really played with the Canadian kids until we got there (Ireland). We finished 15th out of 26 teams. I would say we out-possessed most of the teams we played. Some just got a lucky goal on us. So we did really well.”
CFCA: How did you get selected for the team?
Casey: “I don’t really know! (laughing)”
Editor Note: We’ve learned that Casey is a very humble young man. After a little digging we discovered Casey was extended an invitation to play in a Residential Academy in Ireland. After being recommended and assessed as a qualified player, Casey and 17 other ’01 players from Tennessee, the U.S. and Canada trained and participated in the Super Cup N.I, a tournament in Northern Ireland with local Ireland and Premier League Academy teams participating.
CFCA: You look pretty fit. What do you do for fitness and nutrition?
Casey: “Well it’s pretty important for me. In middle school and last year I ran in Cross Country, so a lot of running.”
CFCA: People say you’re pretty good! What makes you so good?
Casey: “Well I make some pretty good passes and move the ball well. So, I guess people notice that.”
CFCA: What are your greatest strengths right now?
Casey: “Just my technique with the ball. Just being able to control it well and making smart passes.”
CFCA: Do you do any off the field training right now?
Casey: “Not really. I just dribble and juggle around the back yard.”
CFCA: What kind of boots does a good center midfielder wear these days?
Casey: “I don't know. Nikes. CR7’s I guess.”
CFCA: What’s been your best soccer moment so far?
Casey: “Well I made the ODP Regional pool team last year.”
CFCA: Tell us about your ODP experience.
Casey: “I’ve made the ODP ’01 State team the last few years. Last year I made the State team and was invited to try out for the Regional team and I made the pool team. This year I made the State team and received another invite to the Regional trials.”
Editor Note: Tennessee’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) identifies top soccer talent in the State through regional (local) tryouts and State tryouts. Once a player earns his or her way onto the State team he/she is invited to participate in the Regional trials. Regional trials allow players to play with and against top talent in the Southeast U.S. A player can earn a slot on the Regional Pool Team where he/she has an opportunity to make the Regional Team and compete for a National slot. Casey’s invite to the Southeast Regional Pool Team in 2015 is a testament to his overall skill level and game play. Often beating out hundreds of other players and dozens of position players, it’s a great honor to be selected to participate in ODP regional pool team matches.
CFCA: Tell us about school and programs you’re involved in.
Casey: “I go to Cleveland High School. I wasn’t last year but this year I’ll be a part of the Engineering (Honors) Club. I’m in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program as well.”
CFCA: What do you do when you’re not playing soccer?
Casey: “Usually homework or playing X Box.”
CFCA: What advice would you give some of our younger Academy players?
Casey: “Ah, just to work hard. Training twice a week isn’t enough. Go out in the back yard or take part in the extra training.”