Joseph Gillies smiles a lot.
Whether he is talking about school, the food he eats or the family he spent the last four years of his life living with while in Uganda.
There are two things that he saves a special smile for - soccer and his adopted family in Maple Valley, Wash.
To understand where that smile comes from - the many miles it has traveled and the many hardships it took to create the beaming glow on the face of the 15-year-old Sounders FC Academy player - can be painful. It even brings his mother, Suzy Gillies, to tears talking about it.
He didn’t have much growing up in Uganda. But much of what he did have was stripped away when his birth father died when Joseph was just six years old. Four years later, that little that remained was taken too when his mother died, leaving him and his eight brothers and sisters virtually on their own.
That is where his journey that brings him to the rave green begins - and where the smile meets its origin.