‘Impossible Is Nothing’ may be Adidas’ signature slogan, but it also tells the story of Marcos Mathews: a fighter who never quits.

To many, California represents a dream of sunshine, beaches, and the sweet life, but for little Marcos, growing up in California meant struggle, steep competition, and endless hard work to prove himself. Raised by a single father, following a stressful family separation, Matthews joined the percentage of kids most likely to have unstable emotions, pent up frustration, and delayed psychological growth. Marcos loved his father, who toiled each day to keep a roof overhead and food on the table for his sons, but he longed for a wholesome, stable family, and this unfulfilled longing led to unrelenting anger.

From Angry to Athlete

By four years old, Marcos’ began acting out, throwing anything he could reach. While this behaviour would be admonished by most parents, Marcos’s father recognized his son’s struggle and hoped to redirect the emotions. He noticed that Marcos threw with power, precision, and urgency– a throw he had seen before, watching professional baseball. Beneath all the chaos, Marcos had the arm of a third baseman. At five, Marcos was old enough to join the little league baseball program through school. His coaches saw great potential in the little boy and positioned him at third base, but Marcos grew bored while he waited for someone to even hit the ball: coordination isn’t a strength for most kindergartners. Boredom got the best of Marcos, so he decided to try his hand at basketball.

It was around this time that Marcos began rebuilding a relationship with his mother. By exerting energy on the court and spending time with mom, he started to learn to cope with his feelings. Basketball became a fond memory for Marcos, but it would not become his future. No one could say he wasn’t consistent on the court; he consistently hurled air balls over the backboard with untethered excitement! Unfortunately, this did not impress his coaches and quickly earned him a spot riding the pine. Once again, Marcos became bored, but he didn’t give up.

Every weekend, he sat on the sidelines of his brother’s soccer games and fell in love with ‘the beautiful game’. For once, he was engaged for a full sporting match, never taking his eyes off the ball. Later that year, Marcos laced up his first pair of cleats and stepped foot on his journey toward becoming a professional athlete.

The Tackle of a Lifetime

The clatter of a tackle, the sweet satisfaction of a perfect pass, the woosh of the ball in the back of the net, the comradery of a team… Marcos hung on to every feeling soccer brought to his life. All he wanted to do was go to soccer practice, play in matches, and spend time with his team, but the pesky priority of school kept getting in his way.

Academics were not easy for Marcos, who struggled with dyslexia, a learning disorder which made reading and writing difficult for him. As a result, he was enrolled in special education classes. This was a significant hit to Marcos. Being ‘disabled’ brought about stigma and social struggle among his schoolmates, but through soccer, he found healing and strength, with his teammates showing him love beyond measure. Over time, Marcos learned of star athletes, like Magic Johnson, Carl Lewis, Tim Tebow, and even Muhammad Ali, who had been diagnosed with dyslexia on their way to becoming pro athletes. He began reframing his relationship with dyslexia, and struggle in general. For all of the athletes Marcos looked up to, obstacles made them stronger, tougher, and more determined. They never quit, and neither would Marcos Mathews.

By high school, he was no longer in special education, and turned his entire focus to soccer becoming one of the chosen few to make the Royal High School soccer team in their freshman year. By sophomore year, Marcos was a starter. He dedicated his time to training on his own, and created an independent athletic regimine. Personal development earned Marcos a place with Real So Cal, one of the most prominent academies in the US.

Go Pro!

By junior year, Marcos was a seasoned player, and the academy training had made him a better player who knew his role on the pitch. Under the stern tutelage of Leon Sharf, Marcos took his final step to becoming a professional. A no-nonsense coach who pushed his players to their limits, Leon instilled the discipline and professionalism in Marcos that caught the eye of overseas scouts. England and the Riasa program soon came calling, and Marcos took the once-in-a lifetime opportunity to up his game overseas. With his sights set on playing in Europe’s top tier, Marcos worked with an agent and earned a try-out with Spanish teams Marcet, FC Malaga City, and CD Leganes.

Today, the little boy from California who tackled one life struggle after another is standing tall in Spain, signed with Leganes team. The World Cup in Qatar is his objective, and two years is more than enough for Marcos Matthews to prove he has the heart of a champion.