The unconditional support of his parents was key for David Soria to reach the top in football.
“When I grow up I want to be a footballer.” One out of five Spanish boys says this sentence when asked about his future work. According to a study by Adecco, being a professional player is – by far – the most desired option for children between 4 and 16 years old. It is therefore normal to want to dedicate yourself to football. It’s what everyone wants to do. That is why no parent is scared when his 10-year-old son tells him that he wants to be a professional player. But what happens when the child is already 16 or 18 years old?
“Sometimes we had a very bad time,” recalls Rafael Soria, a life dedicated to work – formerly a civil servant, then a bar manager – and to his family. This included taking little David to dozens of soccer fields so that he could train, take courses, try out for teams … That boy is now 27 years old, he is the starting goalkeeper of Getafe and has in his record a Europa League Cup. Both he and his father know how hard it took him to get this far.
“As parents we were worried, because we saw that David had not just settled in any team,” Rafael explains, referring to the most difficult stage in his son’s career. “He was 18 years old, he wasn’t working and was doing nothing other than training. The future didn’t look good: when you run out of a team at that age, it seems impossible to get to the top. But as a family we didn’t stop supporting him for a single second. I saw he had something special”.
“As parents we were worried. David was 18 years old AND he was doing nothing other than training”
He had been told the same at Marcet some years before, when David was 13. “We always did everything to support him. That summer we decided to take him to the Marcet intensive courses because they had told us very good things about that academy, especially for goalkeepers. David was very excited to go and we had a good memory of that experience. Tommy N’Kono was one of his teachers … And that summer also Olíver Torres was there as a player. In the final report they gave us, Marcet’s professors told us that David had the skill set to make it to professional football. They had high hopes for the boy and apparently rightly so“.
However, the path to success was not as direct as the Getafe goalkeeper and his family would have liked. Being without a team, David sought luck in England, where he had several tryouts for teams like Birmingham, Stoke City, Leicester… But then he had an injury and that was the “worst” moment of his career. Without being able to train and without any team waiting for him, the Madrid goalkeeper could well have sunk. But he never had before. And he did not.
“The passion for soccer ran in his veins since he was little,” Rafael recalls. “He started playing at school, and always put himself in goal. That’s how things started. And then it went little by little … Until U-16 it was going from less to more. But then it was when things got complicated. He was left without a team and began to try for several clubs, but the thing did not work out. In that situation I would never have imagined that he would get to where he has arrived. David insisted, insisted and insisted… Until he got the award he deserved“.
The perseverance of the young goalkeeper was rewarded when he received a call from Sevilla. His father accompanied him to the southern Spanish city and the nightmare turned into a dream. “I don’t know how to explain what I felt,” Rafael recalls. “I didn’t believe it. The emotion at that moment was incredible. I was about to cry.”
“When Sevilla signed him, i was ABOUT to cry. I didn’t believe it. it was an incredible feeling”
David finally had a team… And what a team! Although, he had to start from the bottom. The 2015-16 season was key. The goalkeeper from Madrid began playing in the Third Division with Sevilla’s second team and ended the year raising a Europa League Cup after beating Liverpool in the Basel final.
So David’s success has been a team effort. The unconditional passion of the young goalkeeper and his desire to reach the top were the determining element in this beautiful story of self-improvement, but other people also contributed to the success of the Getafe goalkeeper. Of course his family, who were always there. But also the coaches David found throughout his career. And the same can be said of the technicians who decided to give it a try on their teams.
“We never put pressure on him. The day he lost a match was the day we supported him the most”
But all that is still not enough. “Talent always has to go hand in hand with luck,” says Rafael, because “only with talent you don’t get anywhere.” Of course, you also have to help luck. “I saw many of David’s classmates who as children aimed well, but in the end did not manage to reach professional football. Some because they did not want to sacrifice themselves. Others because they were injured a lot and ended up leaving him. And many because of the pressure they got from their families. There are parents who insist too much, even when the child is only 7. I never put pressure on David, never ever. I just told him that he had to take advantage of the time. But no pressure. The day he lost a match was the day we supported him the most : ‘It’s okay, David … It’s okay. You were perfect today.’