How did a professional footballer from the USA end up playing in Southland in New Zealand. Here is Part 1 of the story of the well-traveled midfielder David Schipper.
By David Schipper
My name is David Schipper and this is my story of how I became a professional soccer player. I was born and raised in San Diego, California and am the youngest of 3 siblings. Soccer is in our blood as my father played at a respectful level growing up in Mexico so it was a given that we were all going to play soccer. I first started playing at the age of 3 in the local YMCA and AYSO leagues and would typically play with my brother and the kids his age.
It wasn’t until I was 7 years old that my parents were able to put me on a club team and that’s where I would say it all began. I started playing for Bonita Rebels, and then played for Crusaders for a few years but at the age of 13 seeking the highest competition and standards I joined Nomads and finished off my youth club soccer career there. Although I was only able to play in 1 season of high school soccer at Bonita Vista due to playing for Nomads in the Developmental Academy League we were able to win several tournaments, our league and were ranked #2 in the county, which was pretty awesome.
Playing for a club like Nomads allowed me to have the opportunity to play against the best teams in the country as well as showcase my talents in front of collegiate and professional scouts on a daily basis in the Developmental Academy League which ultimately gave me the opportunity of a lifetime in being called in for the Under 17 USA National Team camp and pool in Los Angeles. Coming out of high school I was pretty highly recruited and had plenty of interest from division 1 universities. Unfortunately injuries are part of the sport right? Well, I ended up breaking my ankle in one of our games and let’s just say that more than 1 school removed there scholarship offer and went on to recruit someone else. That in itself fueled me and motivated me to crush my physical therapy and get back on the field so I wouldn’t miss what in my eyes was step 1 of my dream in becoming a professional soccer player which was the opportunity to play soccer in college.
I ended up committing to the University of Arizona; they were an extremely successful program, great school, and they were starting a PDL team out there so it checked off everything I was looking for. After 4 successful seasons, awards and accolades and a college degree later I finally got the opportunity I’ve always been dreaming of.
My professional journey began in 2014 in Mexico with the opportunity to join Ascenso MX side Dorados de Sinaloa in pre-season. Luckily they had just been purchased by Xolos de Tijuana and were training there which made the commute much easier for me. I was with the club for about 2 months until they told me they had no more roster spots for foreign players. Immediately after that I flew out to Cancun for a trial with Altante who play in the same league, which was sort of on a week-by-week basis. Again after about 2 months they told me they weren’t interested in signing me and just like that I was 0 for 2 in a matter of 4 months.
Although I was devastated and frustrated about that it truly humbled me. I flew back home and just started training because I knew I would eventually get another opportunity somewhere, somehow. And that’s when I got in contact with the San Diego Sockers and started training with them and playing with their reserve team. Indoor soccer wow, to be honest I never thought I would play it until I was done pursuing outdoor soccer. After a few games though, I got contacted by Seattle Impact FC now known as Tacoma Stars in the MASL if I want to go out and be a part of their inaugural season.
Without hesitation I accepted and signed to what would be my first ever-professional soccer contract. The Indoor season finished and I came back home and while my agent was in talks with several clubs I was playing in the NPSL for FC Force in which we became the southwest region conference champions.
Next; the ups and downs continue, and how did David end up in Invercargill, and what’s that like?
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