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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DC SCORES alum Josselin Possian selected for NIKE's "The Chance" elite soccer camp

Possian (right), high school champion.
Josselin Possian first heard about NIKE’s “The Chance” soccer showcase from a friend at school, who suggested he try out.

Why not? thought Possian, a senior this past spring at Bell Multicultural High School. It couldn’t hurt to test out his skills against the area’s best high school-age players.

After all, “I’ve always dreamed of being a pro,” Possian said.

When Possian arrived for the tryout to the high-level soccer camp in late May, however, he was joined by 499 other aspiring young pros.

Only one player, they were told, would be selected to travel to Oregon for the USA Finals in late July -- where a trip to Barcelona would be on the line.

One out of 500.

The boys were divided into teams to play full-sided games. After each game, the group would be cut down.

“The first game I don’t think I played that well,” Possian said, “so I didn’t think I was gonna make the first cut.”

But Possian passed the first slimming. And the second. Then a third. And finally, after his fourth game, Possian was one of 20 players given a chance to come back the next day.
Possian (left), futsal tournament champion.

After some much-needed rest, Possian returned to the soccer field for a round of training and, finally, a last chance to prove himself -- a game against the Pachuca FC local club team.

When the game was over, the players were gathered and two numbers were called -- two invitations, rather than one, to the next round.

“I was shocked,” Possian said. “When he said my number, I was like, ‘What??’ I zoned out for a second.”

Now, Possian is readying himself for July 23, when he’ll travel to Beaverton, Ore., for the four-day USA Finals. He’ll be tested by NIKE and associated scouts and coaches on fitness, soccer skills and game play.

If Possian advances out of Stage 1, he’ll hop on another plane for a bit longer of a flight -- to Spain for the Global Final of the competition.

“I’m very, very excited,” Possian said. “I just hope to go out there and show them my potential. Hopefully, I win again.”

While advancing out of the DC bracket initially surprised him, Possian has held a deep-seated belief in his ability since he began playing for DC SCORES at Lincoln Middle School after immigrating from the Ivory Coast.

“I’m pretty confident,” he said. “I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to be presented, and hopefully I’ll take advantage of it.”

Possian began playing organized soccer in the U.S. for Lincoln, which led to him getting noticed and invited to compete on other teams where he was exposed to greater competition. He also played for Bell, leading his high school to back-to-back District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association championships as a junior and a senior.

“DC SCORES was the first program to pull me into a travel team,” Possian said. “DC SCORES not only helped me with my school team, but also helped me with teams outside of school. I kept improving and learned a lot.”

Soccer has always been Possian’s passion, but he has other plans if that pro career doesn’t work out.

“School-wise, I want to go to (college) and double major in international business and engineering,” said Possian, whose high-school GPA was 3.77.

But for at least the next two weeks, Possian -- besides volunteering for DC SCORES -- is focused on his trip across the country with the possibility, after that, of a trip abroad.

At the Global Final in Barcelona, 16 players from around the world will be selected to tour with The NIKE Academy this fall and winter as an elite soccer team. Whether he makes it that far or not, Possian is thankful for the tremendous support he’s received.

“I’m very proud of myself and proud of my family for all the support,” he said. “I have my mom praying for me every morning and every night.

“I want to go win this not just for my family but for everyone else that supports me.”

(See video of Possian in this recent CBS feature.)

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