Inspired by his father, who played soccer for the University of Washington, senior Balin Larson has been immersed in the world of soccer since he was 5 years old. Larson grew up in Ballard, Wash., and attended Ballard High School, where he played for his high school soccer team as well as for the Seattle Sounders’ U-23 team.
“Playing for the Sounders and winning the national semifinal has been my best experience,” Larson said. “I play out-of-seasons soccer during summer not only to stay in shape, but also to improve and be exposed to a professional environment where I am consistently challenged.”
After watching a few soccer showcases in Portland, Ore., former men’s soccer head coach Sean Bushéy told Larson that Whitworth would be the right place for him to play. However, after Larson graduated from Ballard High, he attended Bellevue Community College for two years. Larson played soccer for Bellevue and continued on the Sounders’ U-23 team.
After two years at Bellevue, Bushéy convinced Larson to come play for Whitworth. Last year during spring semester, prior to coaching the Whitworth men’s soccer team, newly appointed men’s soccer head coach Morgan Cathey watched one of Larson’s games.
“I was impressed by everything he brought to the game,” Cathey said. “He is very good in the air and is a perfect center back.”
As a result, Cathey chose Larson to become one of the three captains. “I believe that he is a model of what we want, that the team looks up to him,” Cathey said.
Cathey and senior Andrew Flint, Larson’s teammate and co-captain, both said they have noticed Larson’s decision-making and patience improve.
“He has become more of an attacking player,” Flint said. “He also gets forward into attack and is solid on defense.”
Larson leads by example and was an All-American last season. He described himself as dedicated and persevering when it comes to playing soccer and other parts of his life.
“He is an ideal blue collar who is always setting an example through his actions to the team,” Cathey said.
Flint described Larson as personable.
“Balin is one of those guys that doesn’t [take] too long to get to know,” Flint said.
Larson looks up to a current Sounder player Djimi Traoré, who inspires him to play professionally for the Sounders.
“I admire him for his leadership,” Larson said. “A hand full of guys have signed professional contracts after playing with the Sounders in this summer season, but they have mostly signed with teams other than the Sounders and I am hoping to receive the same opportunity.”
After college, if not playing professionally for the Sounders, Larson wants to play soccer in Germany.
“He is the only guy to pursue playing soccer during summer. I believe he can play at the next level, which not many players that I know can,” Cathey said. “I have no doubt he is going to be successful.”
If going to Germany to play professional soccer does not work out, Larson will make use of his computer science degree stateside, he said.
Jessica Razanadrakoto Staff Writer
Contact Jessica Razanadrakoto at email@example.com