Where are they now: Wesley Wade (Q+A)
In 2010 US Club Soccer took the first edition of the id2 National Selection International Tour overseas, bringing an 18-player roster to the Netherlands and Germany. The trip was intended to identify players with bright futures for U.S. Soccer and provide them with the opportunity to face elite international competition.
One of the players from that inaugural trip, Wesley Wade, has parlayed that experience into success playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team U-17 squad. He is a mainstay on the U-17 squad, and is one of the team's leading scorers.
Recently, US Club Soccer conducted a Question and Answer session with Wesley, reflecting on his memories of the id2 Program and his resulting opportunities with the U.S. National Team.
US Club Soccer: What are your memories of the 2010 id2 National Selection International Tour?
Wesley Wade: I will never forget our U-14 team defeating Ajax’s academy team, one of the top clubs in the world. Scoring in that game was a dream come true. I even saw my first European match in Amsterdam, watching an Ajax victory. (Ajax defeated FC Twente 3-0 at Amsterdam Arena Feb. 7, 2010)
Secondly, playing soccer in Germany on a field covered with snow in a snowstorm was also an unforgettable experience. I am glad I was raised in New Jersey and could give my teammates from California, Texas and Florida advice on how to stay warm.
I learned how to travel, eat and communicate in two foreign countries (The Netherlands and Germany) just like professional football players in Europe. I was proud to represent the U.S.A in Europe.
US Club Soccer: How did that experience make you a better player and lead you to where you are today?
Wesley Wade: I learned firsthand that soccer is extremely competitive around the world and that I need to work hard every day in order to compete with the best global teams later in my career. Skill development, technique, poise, tactical awareness, teamwork and mental positioning all need to be developed in addition to speed and muscle to compete at a world class level.
I have now traveled to many world class European tournaments, including: Croatia and Austria with the U-15 Boys’ National Team, Austria with the New York Red Bulls Pre-Academy team, France, Val de Marne Paris and Spain, AGS Cup Tournaments with the U-17 Men’s National Team, Turkey Aegean Cup with U-17 Men’s National Team, France for the Montaigu Mondiale Minimes Tournament with U-17 Men’s National Team and the Costa Rica Saprissa Tournament with the U-17 Men’s National Team.
US Club Soccer: Can you describe your time in the U.S. Residency Program – what you have learned and what have been some of the highlights?
Wesley Wade: I learned that the discipline of playing six days a week when everyone on the team is a star can be very challenging. You have to take care of your body on and off of the field. As a student-athlete I am learning to study and manage my time to get my homework done, and to keep up my GPA even when traveling to Europe.
Playing at an international level has taught me a lot about the game and the level of world competition. Training and playing against MLS pro teams and the U.S. Women’s National Team have also been amazing experiences.
We also learned to watch our nutrition, how to recover with ice baths and to recover for the next week ahead. At the IMG Academy where we board, we have met hundreds of student-athletes from around the USA and the world.
This week, from June 21 through July 2, our U-17 Men’s National Team will travel to Costa Rica to play Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico in the Saprissa International.
I feel fully “battle tested” after consistently scoring 10 goals in eight international U-17 Men’s National Team matches against France, Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, Denmark, Russia, UAE, and Valencia FC (Spain). Above all else I learned that only world-class teamwork from defenders, midfielders and forwards can produce winning results.
My top four goal memories are:
1) Scoring the equalizing goal against France in the 93rd minute at the Nike International Friendlies. (Video)
2) Scoring a goal with my left heel against Brazil from a Junior Flores assist, at Nike International. (Video)
3) Scoring the first two U-17 Men’s National Team European goals against Russia leading to Golden Boot/Top Scorer Award at the AGS Cup in Spain.
4) Scoring the game-winning goal to defeat Mexico 1-0 in the Montaigu, France Mondiale Minimes Tournament.
US Club Soccer: You’ve played at a higher level with some teammates from the 2010 id2 National Selection International Tour, including Corey Baird and Brandon Tetro. How have your relationships with players from that trip grown as you have gotten to play together after the tour?
Wesley Wade: Corey Baird and I have a great relationship because of our start at id2 . (Even our moms became friends as “international soccer moms” cheering our games with id2 in the Netherlands and later in Croatia with the U-15 National team.) After id2 we both qualified for the U-14 Boys’ National Team under Coach Manny Schellscheidt, and the U-15 Boys’ National Team under Coach Jim Barlow before we earned our U-17 Men’s National Team slots under Coaches Wilmer Cabrera and Richie Williams. As teammates we have shared many assists on the pitch.
Brandon Tetro and I were rival New Jersey players when we were younger. Then we both joined the New York Red Bulls Development Academy and played U-14 under Coach Jeff Zaun. This summer we are teammates on the New York Red Bulls U-16 Academy team with Coach Rob Elliott. We qualified for the USDA Playoffs and are targeting the USDA Finals in July.
I also stay in touch with many of our id2 teammates across the USA through Facebook and seeing each other at national tournaments!
I also followed the id2 National Selection International Tour very closely this year because my younger “godbrother”, Matthew Olosunde, played on the team that beat FC Barcelona during this year’s trip. Thanks to id2 , Matthew saw Messi score four goals in one game live in Barcelona.
US Club Soccer: What are your future goals as a soccer player?
Wesley Wade: First our team needs to win the U-17 CONCACAF and then the U-17 World Cup in UAE in November/December 2013. Then I will graduate from high school at MKA, Montclair Kimberley Academy, in New Jersey in 2015.
I then intend to enroll in college, and/or tryout for pro teams in MLS or Europe. I will also continue to try out for National Team rosters until I reach the Men’s National Team in a World Cup. I love competing against the top competition in the world.
US Club Soccer: What was the experience like when you recently had the opportunity to watch a training session for the U.S. Men’s National Team and get to know some of the players?
Wesley Wade: Unbelievable! We actually talked to legends such as Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Michael Bradley. We learned that their training environments were very similar to ours on and off the field. We realized and feel good that we can be the future National Team! At 15 years old I am living a student-athlete’s dream, traveling the world first with id2 and the New York Red Bulls Development Academy, the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team and now the U-17 Men’s National Team! How blessed am I! I am living the dream.