Ian Watson-Hemphill is one of the most astounding people I have ever met. Standing at six foot four and clocking in at a little over 180 pounds, this seemingly nerdy, uncoordinated kid is not only one of the greatest high school basketball players I have ever seen, but he is also one of the best high school soccer players in the state. However, his journey to that status has not been easy. To understand how he has got to where he has gotten, we must go back more than a decade and take a trip to an indoor soccer field that houses a league for toddlers.
Ian had athletic potential from a very young age as he and his friends were able to dominate the six and under divisions almost as soon as he stepped on the field. Ian's teams were so good that they started to play in the league above the 6 and under division, so by the time he and his friends were supposed to be in that division they were one of the best teams in that division. However, it soon became clear that Ian was meant for more, so at the age of eight, he transferred from the indoor league to the Lonestar soccer club.
For the next 7 years, Ian put his heart and soul into his Lonestar teams, constantly being the best player on teams that had sub par talent around him. However, this past October a chance encounter would set off a chain of events that would change his soccer career forever.
In the fall of last year, Ian was in a regular-season game, and as he was dribbling the ball towards the goal, a player from the other team blindsided Watson. This hit sent Ian flying, forcing him to try and brace his fall with his hands. However, one of his wrists did not survive the impact with the ground and broke so bad that when Ian went to the doctor, he showed the X-Rays to the trainees. Ian would end up needing surgery on his wrist, which kept him out for over a month. However, Ian had a stroke of luck as his wrist healed faster than expected, so Watson was able to play in the last game of his team's season where he scored three goals despite his minutes restriction. Then something big happened in December of 2020. Less than a month after he was cleared to play, Ian played in his club's college showcase, and he balled out. Ian would come off the bench in the game and through a continued minutes restriction, Watson scored all his goals in a half of play.
Ian continued to practice and play for the same team in the spring, carrying them to a mediocre record. However, Watson's heroics did not go unnoticed as at the end of the spring season, Ian would be invited to practice and try out for a team that was two divisions above his current team. Before the tryouts, a person high up in Lonestar's administration told Ian that he may have to both play in the division below and on this team, insinuating that Watson was not good enough to make a straight transfer to the team. For a lot of people, this would destroy their confidence, but not Ian. Ian was determined to prove the administrator wrong, so at tryouts, Ian went on a streak to prove just how good he is, scoring 8 goals. This performance impressed the team's coach and he told Ian after tryouts that he could win the starting forward spot if he worked hard and continue to play at this level. This would have been impressive enough, but Ian later learned that every single person who was on the committee deciding who should make the roster voted for Ian to make it.
These past events happened a few weeks ago and since that time Ian has been working to improve as a player and a person. He is committed to his craft and ready for this new challenge. Ian hopes to be able to play soccer in college for a division 3 team at a good school such as Cal Tech or MIT. Throughout the entire interview, the grit that Ian showed was so inspiring. Time and time again, he refused to quit and was always determined to prove everyone who doubted him wrong, Ian's soccer story is one of perseverance and dedication. I have never met someone who loves his craft as much as Ian, he is a true inspiration for all student-athletes around the world.