Matthew Anderson | Creighton Prep | Junior
Having a chance to play a sport overseas is a unique opportunity. For 16-year-old Matthew Anderson, it’s happened twice. As a freshman, he traveled to Costa Rica to train with Nebraska State Soccer’s Olympic Development Program. This coming February, he has been invited to Glasgow, Scotland, to train with the Celtic Soccer Academy.
This most recent opportunity came as the result of having attended one of the Academy’s national training camps in Florida this past summer. Matthew has played for Elkhorn Soccer Club since he was nine-years-old and was identified by them as a good candidate for the training camp. “It was really fun learning how they play the game, which is a lot quicker—only one or two touches—than the way we play soccer in the U.S.,” Matthew said, adding that what he learned on and off the pitch (field) was invaluable.
Following the camp, Matthew was one of two players from the U.S. invited to train with the Celtic Academy team in Scotland. “It’s a great opportunity, and we’re in full support of it,” said Matthew’s father, Dave Anderson. “It’s helped make him well-rounded and confident to travel, while developing a real compassion for people and their culture,” said his mother, Erin Anderson. “It’s pushed him to try harder, get out of his comfort zone, and manage his time with practice, friends, and school.”
With a 3.8 GPA at Creighton Prep as a junior, Matthew admits juggling all his responsibilities can be challenging. But he said the culture and values he’s developed playing soccer for ESC has helped. “They have such a family atmosphere, that my teammates are close friends off the field too,” he explained. Adding that his ESC coach, Nedim Hasanbegovic, reminds the team that soccer is just a game and you need to work hard in daily life to accept all the challenges that can come your way. “We try to make each other better every day,” Matthew said. “And that’s inspiring.”