“If you’d asked me five or six years ago if I’d be playing professional soccer I probably would have said no.”
Wells Thompson played his college soccer at
, a perennial powerhouse in the ACC. However, what most people don’t know is that Wells was a walk on. He walked on to the team as a freshman out of high school and from there he worked to earn his spot in the starting lineup, becoming a mainstay in the team. “I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school so just to be part of a Division I program was an accomplishment.” Wake Forest University
Under the tutelage of Jay Vidovich, Thompson’s game developed. Going into college, his position was always that of a center midfielder; however Vidovich saw Wells and his skill set and moved him to the flanks, becoming a wide midfielder.
“To be honest, that transition for me was tough, because I’d always thought of myself as a center midfielder and the positions are different. It was an adjustment but I didn’t really have a choice because that’s where Jay [Vidovich] was going to play me.”
During his time with the Revolution he was part of the team’s first champion ship. During Well’s tenure he was part of a group that won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2007, were MLS Eastern Conference Champions in 2007 and won the Superliga in 2008.
“Going up to
New England was eyes wide open, I didn’t expect to be in that position. They had phenomenal talent you know with Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan and to have a huge history going in….”
There were high expectations for Thompson as he came in as a first round draft pick. With those high expectations came pressure. Wells remained with the team, playing regularly but not always started and after three years, both he and the club decided it was time for a change. Fortunately for Wells, that change sent him to
. “I’m very grateful for my time with Colorado New England. I think I learned a lot from both Paul Mariner and Steve Nicol.”
“I was super excited to go to
. It’s a great state just to be in. From a soccer standpoint all the guys are really friendly and very welcoming. There are not a lot of big heads in our locker room and that, to me, is very important.” Colorado
From walk on to professional Thompson showed extreme perseverance and is now playing as a professional for the 2010 MLS Champion Colorado Rapids.Winning a championship in his first year with
certainly has given Wells another feather to add to his cap. Colorado
“It’s very humbling to go and meet the President and for him to honor us. One of the coolest things was we got to go and host a camp on the front lawn for kids who had lost a parent in the war. I think just to give back was one of the coolest things about this job.”
Thompson’s career has not been without its share of controversy. Some consider his game to be rough and there is little doubt that it is a physical one. Thompson plays fast and uses his body, often being called for fouls. When asked about this his response was not what you might expect.
“I think that I’ve grown as a person as I’ve grown in my faith. My faith is very important to me. I’ve realized that, especially in the past, some of the things I was doing were not glorifying God. I’ve really tried to change the way I’ve played and not cross that line so to speak. I think there is a difference in being aggressive and being out of control. Sometimes in the past, I think, I was out of control. In the past, I’m the first person to admit I’ve done things I’m ashamed of and that I regret. But I’m not out there to hurt anybody. I don’t want to do that.”
Faith is something that cannot be left out when discussing Wells Thompson. Thompson is a devout Christian, one who lets it be known and allows his spiritual beliefs to drive his life. Rare is it that professional athletes say that they believe something and follow it up with such obvious devotion.
“I don’t think I’m the most skilled or best soccer player in the world, but one thing I try to do is work hard.”
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