He runs down the sideline at a blazing pace, with his defender tailing him. He receives a pass and has eyes towards the goal. The way he dribbles seems like second nature to him, as he just evades defender after opposing defender. His charisma on the field shows in the flair he expresses with the ball.
Raul Balderrama made his debut for the GCC soccer team at Pima Sept 5. Though the team ended up with defeat, he expressed his feeling toward his contentment. “I felt confident, I started late so I couldn’t play until Pima,” said Balderrama. “I played very well. I played at a high level and couldn’t be stopped.”
Balderrama was born March 15th, 1997, to parents Raul Sr. and Felicia Balderrama. His parents support for him is undoubtable, attending all his games and even showing up at the park with him on occasion for pick-up. “My parents support me fully, without them I would not be able to accomplish the things I did,” said Balderrama. “They are the backbone of me and I owe them everything.”
Before becoming a Gaucho here on campus, Balderrama spent all four years of his high school career on the varsity squad at Shadow Ridge High School, serving as a team captain for three seasons. He immediately made an impact on the team from his freshman year onward, recording an average of three goals and ten assists per season, according to maxpreps.com. He also hones with craft with state-renowned club team SC Del Sol.
If he isn’t on the pitch playing, soccer takes up a lot of his time. Whether he’s watching on TV, or talking about it on social media, there’s no denying his passion for the game. Just scrolling through his twitter feed you will find numerous videos of current stars like Neymar or Thomas Muller, or just pictures of his many cleats, almost all Nike.
However, soccer can’t always be the only thing on his mind. He spends his nights working at Sonic, or playing FIFA with friends, ultimately embarrassing them.
Balderrama will look to impress for the rest of the season despite a late start coming in. “What I offer to a team is a mentality, a leadership role. I am a facilitator and I can create chances,” said Balderrama. “I can change the entire momentum of a game positively.
The future looks nothing but bright for Balderrama, whose journey doesn’t end here at GCC. “I’m looking to transfer next year, to Southwest Baptist University” said Balderrama. “I will be a professional player one day, and I won’t accept anything less.”
You can catch Raul and the rest of the Gaucho soccer team Saturday Sept 26 when they take on Paradise Valley at home. They enter the contest at 2-6-1.