Alvaro Franco, who currently plays in the APSL League for South Florida FC, talked about his goals for the current season and how his past experiences playing professionally have aided him along the way.
Franco has been playing soccer for most of his life. From participating on school teams and community clubs, soccer has always been something Franco regards to be an important aspect of who he is. With years of experience behind his back, Franco believes it has molded him to be the man he is today.
He started playing at the collegiate level for The University of West Florida. Playing for an NCAA Division II team, he regarded this experience as very crucial to the beginning of his soccer career and wished he was able to play longer.
“I am privileged to have played for this team,” Franco said. “To be one of the few freshman players on the team and still have play time on the field was a very big deal to me. I was the baby on the team, where the coach and other teammates embraced me and allowed me to further hone in on my soccer skills. It was an eye-opening experience for sure.”
Franco reflects that he wishes he was able to play longer. His collegiate soccer career was cut short when he sustained a knee injury after his second year of play. During the two years he played on the team, from 2006-2008, he played Midfielder on the team.
However, Franco was able to have another big opportunity come his way when he was offered to play on a professional team based in South America.
From 2009-2011, Franco played Left Defender for Rocha Fútbol Club. This team is based in Uruguay, where he said the experience for playing for a professional soccer team in a different country was difficult, but worth the struggle due to what he learned.
“I quickly realized when I joined this team that nobody played around,” Franco said. “I often was at the end of jokes for being the privileged guy who played over in America and that I didn’t need to be on the team if I didn’t like it.
While they were rough on me, I definitely appreciated it because it shaped me to be a better player. Being away from home and away from my comfort zone allowed me to see that this amazing sport is crucial to lives across the world. I was able to tap into the competitive spirit of the team and it toughened me up. It was a great experience. I loved it.”
After this, he moved on to play for his second professional team in Columbia called Boyacá Chicó Fútbol Club. He played Left Defender on this team as well. However, he played on this team for about 6 months, but still regarded his time there as influential to him since he was able to learn even more about the game.
Now, Franco plays for South Florida F.C. as a Forward on the team. The team currently made it to the Quarterfinals in the APSL League, where they face Red Force F.C. in their upcoming game this Saturday, July 18 at 7:00 a.m. at Broward College.
Franco is extremely proud of how far his team has come this season and reflected how he contributes to the team. He also touched on how the team’s cohesiveness is an asset for them as well.
“I don’t flaunt my past professional experiences to the other players on the team,” Franco said. “I just let my actions on the field represent who I am and how I play. I want the other teammates to relax around me and feel that we can all be on the same level playing field. We are such a new team, but to be able to say we have made it to the quarterfinals so far is a tremendous feat. We are all on the same page and want to make the best of this experience.”