Tom Stavrou – Always a Watergrasshill United Man

Tom Soccer USA

Tom's life in the USA has been mostly about soccer and a some fun outside the game. He has certainly enjoyed his time since moving from Ireland almost three years ago. Soccer is much bigger in the USA than we had imagined and although at a national level it does not compete with the more established sports like American Football, Baseball and Basketball, at schools there are more boys and girls playing soccer than any other sport.

The soccer season is divided into two halves, with the school leagues running from August through to November and the club leagues from December through to June; although at the National Level the season runs from August through to June, which is pretty much where Tom is.

During his first year at Walter Johnson High School, he played for the Junior Varsity Team, which is only for boys in the first two years of high school, before being promoted, at the end of the season, to the Varsity Team (School First Team). For his second and third years of high school he has played for the Varsity Team, topping the charts both years for the most assists and this year as the top goal scorer as well.

The standard of soccer at his school and in Montgomery County, where we live, is high and since Tom has been at this school a number of kids have become U18 internationals (USA and Germany) and quite a few signed professional forms in Europe and elsewhere (one of them has an Arsenal squad number). The ultimate award for schools soccer is being selected as a member of the All-State Team, which is chosen by coaches from players in over 450 high schools teams in Maryland State. This is more like a Hall of Fame rather than an actual team. However, during 2012, he did represent the State of Maryland at the U17 level and helped them reach the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference Cup.

Tom joined the local Bethesda Soccer Club and frist played for the Bethesda Cosmos U16 and then Bethesda United U17. This season, he was invited to trials for the USA National Development Academy U18, of which there are 80 squads around the USA which feed directly into the National Team USA U18 team. Indeed, there are a couple of players from his academy who are in the National Squad. This is part of the USA National soccer set up and the standard is very high, with Tom yet to break into the team, but as one of five still U17’s in the squad of 23, he should have a chance next season.

The training is brutal, 2 ½ hours for six days a week, and between August and November, there is an overlap with the School season, therefore he trains twice a day for over 5 hours in total. With the average length of homework being a further two hours daily and school starting at 07:20, his days are full.

Weekends are grand though and with many friends there is always something to do. He has been dating Sammi, who herself is a pretty top level gymnast competing all over the USA, for over a year now, and so we only get to see him for a few minutes over breakfast and occasionally on weekends in-between doing something. And to finish off, it should be said that in the exercise room, hangs a red shirt with his name and the Watergrasshill United badge, making sure that this great club is not forgotten.

Tom with his Golden Boot Award from the 2007-2008 Season!

Tom with his Golden Boot Award from the 2007-2008 Season!

Tom with his WGH Utd jersey presented to him in 2011!

Tom with his WGH Utd jersey presented to him in 2011!

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