This month's Spotlight Athlete has been described by coaches as "gifted, natural, special and beyond her years." A member of the 2005 Premier team, this player loves the simple things that make the beautiful game beautiful: passing and scoring. She is also a U.S. National Training Center invitee. She shines bright light a... well, meet Diamond Stephens.
CFCA: Why do you like playing for CFCA?
Diamond: “Because I love to travel and play against harder competition.”
CFCA: Who is your coach?
Diamond: Coach Danny (McBride)
CFCA: Tell us about Coach Danny.
Diamond: “I like how he encourages us to like go to the goal. In practice he’ll let us scrimmage at the end or play games or something like that.”
CFCA: What is your favorite part of training with Coach Danny?
Diamond: “When we scrimmage and do 1v1.”
CFCA: What do you like least about training with Coach Danny?
Diamond: “When he makes us run! I don’t like that. He makes us run like 20,000 laps. It’s horrible!”
CFCA: What position do you play?
Diamond: “Attacking midfielder.”
CFCA: Have you learned the numbering system yet? Do you know your number?
Diamond: “Yes. I am the #10.”
CFCA: What is your role as the attacking midfielder?
Diamond: “I usually have to play it up to the striker or go to the goal and shoot.”
CFCA: What are you greatest strengths?
Diamond: “Shooting and passing. I am really good at passing.”
“Diamond is a very naturally gifted footballer. She has a very nice first touch for a player her age, and sees the game at a level beyond her years. If she continues to work hard and develop at the rate she has done this year, (accompanied by a wee growth spurt!) she can be a really special talent in the future.”
Danny McBride, Assistant Director of Coaching and ’05 Premier girls Head Coach
CFCA: What do you enjoy the most when you are on the field?
Diamond: “I like scoring and getting a good pass to my teammates.”
CFCA: Do you score a lot of goals?
Diamond: “Most of the time!”
CFCA: Do you play any other positions?
Diamond: “I’ve played left wing but not very often. But my favorite is attacking mid.”
CFCA: If Coach Danny had to put you in goal how would you feel about that?
Diamond: “I’d probably die! Last time it did that I got like five balls and they all hit me in the nose!”
CFCA: How many times do you train in a week?
Diamond: “I train with my team twice a week and then do special training with a CFCA coach on Fridays."
CFCA: Do you do any other training outside of CFCA?
Diamond: “I train at D1 on strength and conditioning, and I train with the U.S. National Training Center (NTC).”
Diamond is one of the first from Chattanooga, and at age 11, one of the youngest to receive an invite to participate in the National Training Center. The NTC is a USNTC Coach or scout invite only program that identifies players (ages 12-16) with Youth National Team potential.
CFCA: Why do you think you were invited to the National Training Center?
Diamond: “Because I always work hard at soccer and I always give it my best.”
CFCA: How has your team performed this year?
Diamond: “We’ve done good. We’ve won most of our regular games and got third in one, finalist in another and champions in our tournaments.”
CFCA: So, what are your soccer plans during the winter break?
Diamond: “I’m going to continue to do D1 training and maybe indoor.”
CFCA: Are you in any groups or organizations outside of CFCA soccer?
Diamond: “I do Cross Country and Track for Westview Elementary.”
CFCA: When you are older what would you like to be?
Diamond: “Either an Athletics/Sports Trainer or a teacher!”
CFCA: Who is your role model? Who do you look up to?
Diamond: “Probably my dad. He encourages me in soccer and always takes me to games and stuff.”
CFCA: How did you get the name ‘Diamond’?
Diamond: “I don’t know!”
CFCA: What do you like to do when you are not playing soccer?
Diamond: “I like to play with my sisters and do gymnastics.”
CFCA: Which sport do you enjoy more?
CFCA: Why do you like soccer so much?
Diamond: “Because I am horrible with my hands at anything, but I am really good with my feet.”
CFCA: Who is your favorite soccer player?
Diamond: “Uh, Neymar.”
CFCA: What is it about Neymar that you like?
Diamond: “I don’t know. I just love him. He’s like my favorite player. I just like how he plays.”
CFCA: Who is your favorite team?
Diamond: “Probably the U.S. Women’s National Team.”
CFCA: If you were to give advice to our youngest athletes in the Identification Program what would you say?
Diamond: “Try your hardest and don’t give up.”