Ocean View High student selected for FC Cologne soccer talent squad
Alex Linza went to a soccer showcase at El Camino College in March with few expectations, other than the expectation to improve.
The Ocean View High sophomore defender has always wanted to do that, ever since he first started out on the pitch at 4 years old.
But the Bundesliga ID showcase led to an opportunity that Alex could never imagine.
He was offered a spot on the prestigious FC Cologne International Talent Squad this fall in Germany. Only 24 players from across the country were chosen.
“When they called me, I couldn’t believe it,” said Alex, 16, who lives in Los Alamitos. “I just go for fun, and play until I can’t do it anymore. I was just amazed. I feel like when you think about it more, you do less. I just go for fun and whatever happens, happens. You might as well live in the present.”
Alex’s current present is an upcoming six-month training program overseas. He has never left the country, but that’s about to change.
The cost for the program is 27,000 euros, about $30,000, said Alex’s parents, Corinne and Mark Linza.
They started a GoFundMe to raise money. Alex has sold a few of his baseball and Pokemon cards and is planning to get a summer job, and the family is even selling a car to help pay for the trip.
“I am just overwhelmed with mixed emotions,” Corinne Linza said. “There’s pride, amazement, sorrow and then a little bit of anxiety, wanting to make sure it happens for him. He’s been playing since he was 4, and this is what he’s wanted his whole youth, this is what he’s been aspiring to. Having it be such a surprise, we just weren’t set up or ready. I just want to make sure it happens for him. It would kill me if it didn’t, this could be it, you know?”
Alex, who plays club soccer for Gus Gomez at Total Futbol Academy Orange County, is a valuable piece for his high school team as well and also puts his talents elsewhere. After a brief stint on the boys’ tennis team as a freshman, he came out for track.
The result has been a budding star runner. Alex set the Seahawks sophomore record in the 800 meters this year by crossing in one minute, 59.02 seconds.
He said his ultimate goal is to break the national high school record, though he has a way to go to top Michael Granville of Bell Gardens, who ran a 1:46.45 in 1996.
“There is absolutely no question that Alex is a talented student-athlete, but what is more important to have?” Ocean View cross-country and track coach Daniel Hurtado said. “Is it talent, passion or purpose? I would argue that purpose is the foundation of continued success, and that’s where Alex stands above the rest. Alex practices and races with a purpose — to reach places that the team has never reached before it. Because of it, his desire matches his efforts on race day. You cannot attend an Ocean View track meet and not feel excited when Alex takes the track.”
On the track or the pitch, Alex continues to make his mark.
He’ll be doing it this summer, too — even if he’s thousands of miles from home. His soccer should fit in fine, once he gets past the language barrier.
“I do have to learn some German,” Alex said.
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