USL

Oalex Anderson living up to promises for club and country

072315 Oalex

When Oalex Anderson became a member of Seattle Sounders FC 2 earlier this year, it was the fulfillment of a promise that had been made four years ago.


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“[S2 Coach] Ezra [Hendrickson] came home in December to spend Christmas in St. Vincent, and we had this small tournament going on at nine in the morning,” Anderson said last week. “He had a team, and we played against each other there. After those games he came and talked to me, he spoke to my mom and said, ‘your son has a good talent, he can do good stuff,’ and he promised me in front of my mother that he’d get me out of here.”

Oalex Anderson living up to promises for club and country -

Now, Anderson is living up to the promise he showed then for both S2 and his country. This Friday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces Haiti in the semifinals of Caribbean Olympic Qualifying. Anderson has been key to his side’s progression, scoring in all four games to reach this point. With the tournament’s two finalists set to advance to the final qualifying stage in the U.S. this October, he is looking forward to the chance to lead his side.


“It would be great if we can go past Haiti,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we’re looking forward to other goals. A good game against Haiti, move past them with a victory, going on to the finals, and we’ll see where we go from there.”


Hendrickson has been pleased with Anderson’s progress since he arrived in Seattle. A broken leg when Anderson was 17 put an end to Hendrickson’s hope to bring him to the U.S. to play college soccer, but Hendrickson continued to monitor the youngster as he played in the Antigua Premier League for Grenades F.C. last year.


When S2 was announced, Hendrickson went to General Manager Andrew Opatkiewicz to get Anderson on his inaugural squad.


“He was 18 at the time, and we were able to make it happen, thankfully,” Hendrickson said. “He’s a very talented young player, and his work ethic is very good, so he’s going to be a very successful professional player.”


Anderson has done well so far in the USL, adapting to the heightened speed of the game in the U.S. and providing some memorable goals already for the playoff contender.


It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Anderson said adapting to life in Seattle was tough in the early going thanks to a very different climate and lifestyle than back home, but as the weeks have gone on, and the season got into full swing, he has become better acclimatized.


“I’ve found I’ve grown a lot since coming to Seattle, and that’s a good thing,” Anderson said. “This is a good club, and hopefully a couple of years pass, and I’m with the first team. My goal is to play for the first team, but it’s been great since I’ve got here. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m still learning, talking to experienced players, players who’ve been places, so it’s getting better.”


Certainly, Anderson isn’t taking his opportunity lightly. One of the things that has driven him forward is his father Alex’s experience. A talented player in his own right according to his son, Alex Anderson didn’t get the chance to pursue his own career, putting the needs of his family first as he worked to put food on the table.


Growing up in a small neighborhood with his mother and grandmother, there were those that didn’t expect much from Anderson. With encouragement from his family, however, and a helping hand from his fellow countryman, the 19-year-old is now eagerly following his dream, with the goal of representing his country in the best way possible.

Oalex Anderson living up to promises for club and country -

“It means a lot [to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines], because my country is very small,” Anderson said. His recent celebration with the country's flag after a fine goal against Portland was another chance to show his national pride. “I was overwhelmed and happy, so I decided to show my flag just to show my appreciation, and to just let everyone know where I’m from.”


As one of the key players for both his country’s U23 and full national team, Anderson’s future certainly appears bright in both club and international soccer. Come this Friday, his coach will also be one of his biggest supporters as the team looks to make history with a win.


“That would be extremely huge for the country,” Hendrickson said. “I’m sure if that happens, Oalex will have played a very big part in that game. We’re really looking forward to that game. Being a fellow countryman, I’m going to be watching that game if I can live, or listening on the radio – whatever medium I have access to – but it would be very big for St. Vincent to get that far in Olympic qualifying. Once you get here in October in the States, you never know what could happen. A couple of good games, and you put yourself in position to be one of the teams qualifying from CONCACAF, and that would be really huge.”

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