Connor Gorrien remembers learning to play soccer in Ladera Ranch’s AYSO league at the age of five, when his dad was his coach. Now a Santa Margarita Catholic High School varsity player and incoming senior, Gorrien still has a strong passion for the sport.
“I think what attracted me to [soccer] is the pace of the game,” says Gorrien. “You’re always going up and down the field. You’re never stopping. You’re always engaged, and it’s amazing.”
Gorrien plays center back for the Eagles, and being in a defensive role is right where the 17-year-old wants to be.
“I really love playing there because I can see the whole field. It’s easy to lead the team from back there,” says Gorrien. “I also love playing defense. I feel like there’s a fire you have when you’re back there.”
With the goal of continually improving his skills, Gorrien feels one of the toughest aspects of the game is understanding each position. But he also feels it’s the best path to becoming a better player.
“I think a huge challenge in playing soccer is learning different positions on the field,” says Gorrien. “Doing that makes you so much of a better player because you know what everyone else is trying to do. You know where they’re trying to be. It really improves your game.”
Gorrien’s commitment to his development has earned him the title of team captain for next year, as Santa Margarita boys varsity soccer head coach, Wade Fraser, has already tapped Gorrien for the leadership role.
“Connor is a natural born leader,” says Fraser. “On top of being a leader, Connor is an unbelievable soccer player and student of the game. He knows exactly what I demand, not only of his position, but all the other positions as well, which allows him to hold his teammates accountable. Off the field, Connor’s positive energy seems to put a smile on everybody’s face around him.”
When he’s not on the soccer field, Gorrien volunteers his time at Second Harvest Food Bank. Lessons learned from the game are plenty, but none more than knowing he has to show up every day—both in soccer and in life.
“I think that soccer has taught me [that] every single day you have to come ready to play. And that’s the same with life,” says Gorrien. “You know what you have to do, and you have to get that done.”
Gorrien enters his final year as an Eagle with the hopes of continuing his soccer career at the collegiate level. He’s grateful for the strong influences in his life, such as Coach Fraser, his uncle and the act of prayer.
“It gets me motivated,” says Gorrien of prayer. “Just speaking to the Lord gets you motivated. I think it fuels everyone getting ready to play. And after a loss, faith makes you realize it’s just a game.”