By Aksinya Kichigina
Jallan Flores is an international student at the college who came straight from Spain to pursue his passion in soccer. Aside from taking general classes, Flores plays for the college’s soccer team and performs his great leadership skills as a player. Flores’ experience of playing soccer did not start exactly the way he wanted. Luckily, his cousin introduced Flores to the soccer coach at college, and that is where his sports path began.
“I started playing soccer at JCCC when I first came here from Spain. It was like three years ago, which was July 2012,” said Flores. “When I came from Spain, I did not expect to play for college, because in Spain we play for clubs, and not for colleges. But I was excited, because it was a whole new experience and I was excited to see how it was to play for a college.”
Flores wanted to begin playing as soon as possible, and fortunately, he received the opportunity to demonstrate his soccer skills at the college.
Flores said that when he came from Spain, his cousin, who used to play for the college, told him that if he studies at this college, he can obtain a scholarship from school for playing soccer. Flores was confident that he would be able to play for the college, because he played soccer in Spain for such long time.
“My cousin brought me to school and showed to the coach. After that, I went to practice with them, and the coach liked me. Also, after the practice, the coach offered me an opportunity to be in the team,” said Flores.
The announcement of being on the team made Flores feel really excited. He knew that no matter what, he would still continue playing soccer, since it was one of his main priorities when he came to the United States.
As soon as Flores started playing as a freshman, he was glad to be in the “family.”
“I am really excited about my team. I like the way they treat me, and in general, they give me confidence. We are really unified, just like family, supporting and taking care of each other,” said Flores.
As a good friend and player of the team, Flores has achieved a few things in his two years of playing for the college. In the first year, he always started the games, which was a unique step for the freshman. The team went to the championship final that year, and even though they lost, it was a good accomplishment for the team, and especially Flores, to be there.
In the current season, the team has already taken trips to Iowa and Texas.
“In Iowa, we won the first game against the team of number 18 in the nation, and then we tied the second game against the second team in the nation,” said Flores. “Also, we went to Texas, and I think it helped us a lot because the other team was really good. As a result, we were able to learn from the experience of being there to help us to work even harder.”
Flores feels blessed to be on the soccer team. He said that there is so much ahead to work on, because it is always important to make more effort to be better on the field.
Even though Flores thinks that he has to work even harder to accomplish better results in soccer, his coach, Fatai Ayoade, has already noticed that Flores has great potential in playing soccer.
“Jallan is a very hard-working, dedicated player. He has passion for the game, and he would do anything for the game,” said Ayoade.
The coach also mentioned that Flores has showed leadership and has done a fantastic job this year.
However, before Ayoade met Flores, he did not look at Flores as a serious player. The reason is because Flores’s height is a bit different for the average.
“Soccer’s height is fatal and looking at Jallan for the first time, I thought that this kid was not going to make it here,” said Ayoade. “Firstly, I did judge him by the way he looked, which was his height, but then when he started playing, I saw a potential in him. He is a short player, but he plays big.”
Despite Flores’ achievements already, the coach still believes in him and expects him to continue to be a leader and be able to go to another university to keep giving that passion that he has for the game.
Flores and the Cavs are 4-2-1 on the season and play Barton Community College on Tuesday at home at 4 p.m.