WORTHINGTON -- Andy Garcia has just finished his sophomore year at Worthington High School, but his community spirit and articulate way of speaking indicate a young man who’s mature beyond his years.
A soccer player and a member of the school track and field team, Garcia also coaches youth soccer for the local YMCA. He’s an officer in BPA (Business Professionals of America), and it’s difficult to determine what he loves the most -- soccer, as a game, or simply his community.
Coaching youth soccer allows Garcia to have both worlds.
“I love the sport. And I want to see it continue growing in the town. We have a great team, a great tradition, state appearances. I want to see it grow even after I graduate, so when I come back and look at the town, it’s still thriving in soccer,” he said recently.
With young people like Garcia around to stir interest in soccer, the sport would appear to have a continued bright future.
His own interest in soccer began when he was young, with a father who passed on his interest in soccer to his son. He took him to adult games, he made the sport fun.
Garcia is doing the same with the young players he oversees.
“I try to have a new activity every day,” he explained. “Or ask them what they want to do. Let them play a game against me, because I know that they love just trying to take the ball away from me.”
Garcia’s favorite position? Goalkeeper.
“They just look like supermen flying through the air, saving shots that seem unsaveable,” he said.
The Globe trekked out to Buss Field recently to see Andy in action, and to hear him speak about his love of Worthington and his love of soccer. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here is a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: What’s it like teaching soccer to kindergarteners and second- and third-graders?
ANSWER: “Teaching little kids, it’s a joy. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. They’re a lot funner to work with than older kids. They might argue with you, but they’re just laughing. They just want to have fun. They respect you. They just want to learn how you came to be, what you are, because you’re just an older kid. They respect you.”
Q: Do you have someone who inspires you?
A: “When I grew up playing soccer, my dad always wanted to make it fun for me so I would continue to love the sport as long as I could. … I’ve improved myself from looking at other people. There’s no better people to learn from than people you play with.”
Q: In describing you, others have said you’re always willing and able to help out, whatever the need. Where does your community spirit come from?
A: “My community spirit mostly comes from my love of the town, my love of helping people. I’ve always been someone who, if you need help and if I’m able to help, I will more than likely be there.”