We recently wrapped up two tryout sessions and have added new players to the Battalion squad. One of the newest members of the Battalion Squad is Yuki Hata, who has played soccer at Cal State San Marcos as well as San Diego Zest. Let’s get to know Yuki!
When did you realize first realize that soccer was more than just a game for you?
When I first started out playing soccer, I never thought much of it. When I was 10 years old I made the AYSO All-Star team and it completely changed my life. I felt so honored to be picked for the all-star team and only wanted to get better.
Having played at Cal State San Marcos for 4 years and being familiar with several players on the Battalion squad, tell us about your college experience.
My most memorable collegiate game was during my junior year. We had our conference playoffs in Iowa where we played in 20 degree weather. The freezing weather was something that I have never experienced as I’m from Palm Springs where it can get to 130 degrees over the summer. My team had an excellent performance, but ended up losing in the final moments of double over time.
Who are your role models when it comes to soccer?
My two role models are Ronaldinho and Messi. I look up to Ronaldinho because of his sublime touch, juggling skills, and for his love of the game. In a game where players are under constant stress, Ronaldinho is always seen playing with a smile as a constant reminder to me of how much he is enjoying what he does. Growing up I was never the tallest and that affected how players and coaches looked at me. I have had coaches tell me that I was too small or too short to be on their team, but after hearing that Messi is as tall as I am and seeing the type of magic he produces, it helped me embrace my height and play with more confidence.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not practicing your craft?
I watch a ton of soccer on my free time but I don’t have a specific favorite team. My favorite players to watch play at Barcelona so I guess you can say I am a Barcelona fan. Most of the soccer I watch is on YouTube as I watch players who I can relate to the most.
If you had to share one piece of advice with a young soccer player, what would that be?
If I could give advice to a younger soccer player, my advice to them would be to never stop loving the game. I spent countless hours juggling and dribbling on my own because I simply love soccer so much. My passion and love for the game is what helped me get to where I am now. My advice is to never stop enjoying soccer.
Watch for Yuki Hata on the pitch this fall as NC Battalion prepares for next year’s NPSL season. Up the Battalion!