Player: Gavin Ales
Gavin Ales trains daily at soccer and futsal with Patrick Ferguson who is owner of the Universal Soccer & Futsal Academy out of Naperville, IL. At the tender age of nine, Gavin has been fortunate to play around the world.
In 2016 Gavin was named to the USA Futsal Team, where he spent 10 days training with the FC Barcelona Futsal Academy and playing against futsal teams from Spain. His futsal team from Universal Soccer & Futsal Academy in Chicago placed 4th out of 34 of the worlds top teams at the World Futsal Championship. Over the last two years Gavin’s travel soccer team has held a record of 32 wins and four losses as well as taking 1st place at the largest Midwest Tournaments, including Sockers Nike Cup, Great Lakes Soccer Challenge, NSA Shootout and many others.
Over the next five years, Gavin hopes to play for the US National Soccer Team and we will definitely be on the lookout for this bright star. Here are 18 questions and a video of our new featured player Gavin Ales!
Update: Gavin made the USA Futsal team again for age and will be heading back to Barcelona in March 2017 for 12 days to train at La Masia.
How old are you?
I am nine years old and was born December 30, 2006.
Where are you from?
My family and I live in Plainfield, IL.
How did you get into soccer?
My dad used to play college soccer and started teaching me when I was really young, ever since then I have always had a soccer or futsal ball around.
What's one skill you think every player needs to cultivate?
Coach Patrick always teaches us that to be the impact player on the field and that you have to be able to take somebody one on one and be confident with your ability.
Who are your soccer role models?
Coach Patrick Ferguson is my biggest role model. He teaches me that in order to play soccer and futsal at the highest level possible, I need to work on my technical ability. My player role models are Messi and Neymar. They both dominate with their skills and create space on the field to make big things happen. Last, I would say that Cade Hagan from my home town who played on the 2002 U.S. National Team is another role model. No matter what he does or where he is playing he kills it on the pitch. My dad and I went to visit him at the LA Galaxy Academy this past spring and during the game he got hurt and he played just as hard as he normally would. That and he works really hard in school which is really cool too.
What is your signature move?
I use three moves equally. The Elastico, Maradona and Rollover Stopover.
What is your favorite professional team?
Favorite Soccer Team is FC Barcelona and favorite Futsal team is Inter Movistar Futbol Sala.
What was it like to be named ot the USA Futsal Team?
It was the coolest moment in my entire life. I train six days a week, so to be picked for something like that makes me feel really good. It showed me that if I train hard and play hard, awesome things can happen.
What was the best part about training at the FC Barcelona Academy?
The coolest thing to me was knowing that I was able to train at the same place as some of the greatest futsal and soccer players who have ever lived. Also, when I had an assist when we played the SUB12 FC Barcelona Academy Team :)
Did you meet any Barcelona players? If so, who?
From FC Barcelona Futsal I met Wilde, Bateria and Paco Sedano. When we were in Barcelona they played Inter Movistar and I got to meet Ricardinho, Carlos Ortiz and got to see our family friend Pola.
If you could have any player in the world skill, who would it be and what skill?
For soccer it would for sure be Messi, the way he creates space on the field is something I dream about. He uses his technical skill to dominate and then uses his team at just the right time. For futsal it would be Ricardinho, he commands the ball every time he plays and makes dudes look silly every time he hits the pitch.
What is your greatest moment on the pitch?
This past season our team was tied in a game and we had a corner kick. I was playing on the back side of the 18 and the ball came flying in my direction. I laid out and did a side volley from about the PK spot and scored upper 90. My greatest team moment was when my U-9 club team went 10-0 this past fall with 68 goals for and only 11 goals against. I love my team as they are all my best friends, they make me a better player by pushing me to be my best.
What is your biggest strength on the pitch?
Creating space and using my team at the right time. Coach Patrick always tells me that he loves my vision on the pitch.
What was the difference between futsal in the US and futsal in Spain?
Futsal in the US is played like soccer on a hard wood floor. Futsal in Spain, the game is always moving and the ball never stops and players don’t play set positions. When a player makes a pass they move to a new spot to pull out the defender to create an opportunity for their team.
Where does your motivation come from while you're playing?
My motivation comes from wanting to be the impact player on the pitch.
What do you value most in your teammates?
I value the trust we have together. I know that if I go in hard for a tackle and lose the ball, my buddy is right there behind me rotating and giving just as much pressure as I did. I know that even though we are young, we always have each other’s backs.
What other sports and activities do you enjoy when you're not playing soccer?
I am not playing soccer, I enjoy playing futsal as I play both 6 days a week! I enjoy basketball, swimming and just started piano lessons and like that a lot as well.
Where will we see Gavin Ales in Five years?
You will see Gavin Ales playing for the U.S. National Soccer Team and hopefully by then there will be a US National Futsal Team, and the club I would be playing for would be a US Academy.