FRISCO, Texas - It doesn’t take long to recognize him. His voice rings louder than anybody else’s on the field, and his work between the posts shows his natural athleticism.
For Anthony Hall, this is his opportunity to shine and become the Allstate “Good Hands” top goalkeeper in Sueño MLS 2011.
“I am a hard-working kid. I put my mind to whatever I think I can do,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com Thursday after the first training session at Pizza Hut Park. “I try as hard as I can and never give up.”
Hall, a 16-year-old Dallas native, is a vocal goalkeeper who leaves all of his emotions on the field. Whether he is barking instructions at defenders, leading the team, or angry with himself after allowing a goal, no one can doubt the passion that Hall brings to the pitch.
After Thursday’s training session, Sueño finalists had the opportunity to listen to several FC Dallas players, and among them was MLS goalkeeping legend Kevin Hartman.
“When I get scored on I get frustrated,” Hall said. “But when I hear (Hartman) say that the game goes on, just keep playing the game, you can learn from the goals that they score on you and you can learn to get better, it’s a great lift off my shoulders.”
This is his second opportunity in Sueño MLS competitions. In 2010, Hall reached the local semifinals in Houston.
He has used the year in between Sueño events to work harder, and even hired a goalkeeping coach to help him train.
“I’ve tried to make me stand out more at FC Dallas,” Hall admitted. “I think I’ve been better since Houston.”
Hall’s focus allows him to succeed on the pitch. There is rarely a moment without hearing Hall organizing the backline, arranging a wall on a free kick, or motivating his team to step up the level of play.
Mexican goalkeeping legend Adolfo Rios - who is assisting the goalkeepers throughout the four-day finalist event at Pizza Hut Park - liked what he saw out of the athletic young man.
“This is only the first day of work but with him, he has natural abilities and is very fast,” Rios said.
Hall, a student at Bryan Adams High School in Dallas, has used his abilities in clutch moments throughout his soccer career. In a youth championship Hall once stopped four penalty kicks to guide his team to victory in the competition.
However, the goalkeeper knows that there is always more to learn.
“I have watched videos of myself and my stronger side is my left side so I need to work on my right side more,” Hall said.
So how are the goalkeeper’s parents going to feel if he wins the EL Portero Allstate competition?
“They are going to feel great. They are going to feel that I’ve done what I dreamed to do and achieved my goal in life,” said Hall.