BY CHRIS WILL
When the school year ends and summer break begins, many teenagers execute plans of sitting back and relaxing. But for senior Emre Taskin, there is no such thing as a break when it comes to the strenuous game of soccer.
Soccer is a part of everyday life for Taskin, who says if he’s not training, he’s not breathing. Taskin doesn’t just train to get big or look good, he does so with a purpose in mind.
“[I] want to have an advantage over other people, get stronger or work on my weaknesses and improve my strength,” said Taskin.
Taskin’s work ethic doesn’t go unnoticed. CCHS soccer coach Jorge Salomon is quick to point out that Taskin is not an average high school soccer player.
“His level of dedication to everything [soccer] is rare. Emre not only puts in the work on the field but also in understanding the mental complexities of high level tactical [soccer],” Salomon said. “This isn’t a hobby. [Soccer] is his passion.”
“His level of dedication to everything [soccer] is rare.”
Like most kids, Taskin travels during summer vacation. Yet this doesn’t stop him from continuing his training.
“Sometimes vacations do get in the way,” Taskin said. “But I either bring a ball or buy one from where we go and try to find a gym. The grind will certainly not take a break during this time.”
This summer, in particular, is filled with inspiration for young soccer players around the world. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, a global affair, took place in Russia, allowing numerous soccer teams the opportunity to compete and soccer fans to observe and take notes.
The World Cup is a tournament held every four years in which 32 nations from all parts of the world compete for the title of the best national soccer team in the world. Many young soccer stars look at the athletes playing in the World Cup and are inspired to be just like their favorite player. Taskin, on the other hand, is motivated by the countries who aren’t at this competition.
“One day I pray that I will be playing for the Turkish national team.”
As a citizen of Turkey, a nation that failed to qualify for a spot in the World Cup, the disappointment for Taskin’s country pushes him to get better in hopes that he can bring success to Turkish soccer again.
“One day I pray that I will be playing for the Turkish national team, making history with them by taking them further than [in] any other World Cup,” Taskin said.
Taskin is aiming to make his World Cup debut in 2026, when he hopes to play for Turkey on American soil.
Before Taskin can bring success to Turkey, he hopes to lift the CCHS soccer team to places it has never gone before in his senior year. Taskin sees regional and state championships as possibilities for his final year.
After a disappointing defeat in the district tournament last season, Taskin hopes to bounce back and go the furthest CCHS has ever gone in soccer. For an individual who started soccer at the age of five, Taskin has plenty of experience and accomplishments to share with his teammates.
“[My teammates and I] all push each other to be the best.”
“Some of my greatest accomplishments so far have been how much dedication I put in training and how it pays off in the games,” Taskin explained. “For example, I’ve been practicing free kicks for pretty much every day after practice and during a crucial game I scored the goal that tied the game.”
For the 2018-2019 season, Taskin will be the only senior on the team, returning for his fourth year on the CCHS soccer team.
“I feel like a leader,” Taskin said. “I don’t like to think of it as a weight on me but [rather] as if my teammates follow me and we all push each other to be the best.”
As both a student and an athlete, there isn’t much time to do anything besides soccer and school. Taskin has his priorities in check and understands the importance of time management.
“Balancing school and soccer can be tough at times but I only focus on school and soccer,” Taskin said. “Nothing else really gets in the way, just late nights and little rest.”
This year is sure to be an exciting one as Taskin attempts to bring yet another championship to CCHS in his final season here.
Photo by Kayla Florenco