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Former United/Fever Player, Akil Watts, makes U17 National Team

01/16/2016, 5:00pm EST
By FW United

Update: John Hackworth Names a 32-Player U-17 MNT 2016 Spring Residency Roster

Akil Watts’ soccer story began in The Plex Soccer School at age 4 when he first started playing organized ball. His drive to compete also began at a young age as he was constantly being challenged by his older brother, Britt and Britt’s soccer teammates. Despite the 4-year age difference, Akil had no problems keeping up. Even his parents knew by age 6 that he was different, “Akil always wanted to compete with intensity and looked at the rigors of the game and the concept of ‘team’ differently than most.  What I mean is he always competed at a high level with whomever he played and was always fiercely loyal to his team,” said Akil’s father, Larmondo Watts. “Some of our fondest memories of Akil’s youth career consist of watching his travel team (Fort Wayne United – formerly Fort Wayne Fever) and their commitment to each other during trainings, games and tournaments.  Akil’s youth team were put in so many challenging situations where I felt they played for each other and laid it all on the line for each other. This was inspiring and is what sports bring out in the players…and even spectators.”

Akil attributes a large part of his success to his Mom and Dad and, rightfully, his brother, Britt. He also credits some of his coaches who he feels helped him get where he wanted to go. “I would have to say other key people in my life are Fort Wayne United coaches Bobby Poursanidis, Jason Lee and Nick Potter. Bobby always challenged me to play against older players and see the game differently. Coach Jason was one of my youth coaches who spent countless hours with our team working and playing with us even after being at a full time job. Then there is Nick, who more recently has challenged me to think about leadership and being consistent on the pitch whenever I step out there. I also give kudos to my Uncle Buck, who has always been there for me. There are many others who have helped me develop and I want to let it be known that I appreciate all of their influence on me and especially the support.”

Akil’s Fort Wayne United coaches believe he certainly has what it takes to excel in the National Team program. “Akil has the drive and determination to get it done,” said Coach Nick Potter. “He has developed talent, passion and hunger that is special to witness. There is no higher honor in soccer then to have the opportunity to play for your country and Akil is one of the select few chosen among the elite talent in the United States”.  Coach Jason Lee seconds that sentiment adding, “Akil has made his entire Fort Wayne United FC soccer family proud by taking this incredible next step in his soccer journey.”

Director of Coaching, Bobby Poursanidis, remembers Akil as driven and competitive from an early age. “He didn’t even need to be a player to feel competitiveness about soccer. There were a number of times he would be at his brother’s game and right before game time he would get in Britt’s face, saying to him ‘Are you ready…are you ready?’ trying to get him pumped up. He was so young, but completely understood game-time adrenaline and the excitement of competition.  The soccer IQ he developed over time training up with older players was amazing. His composure and confidence on the ball was unmatched.”

One of Akil’s short term goals is to be a regular on the U17 US National Team and to use this incredible opportunity to work and improve his game in all areas. He also takes his classroom goals as seriously as those on the pitch. Long term plans include graduating from college and working hard to become a professional soccer player. Akil hopes to one day give back to the community through soccer development and by helping other youth players reach their goals.

The entire Fort Wayne United Futbol Club congratulates Akil on all of his success and wishes him the best of luck with the U17 National Team! 

UPDATE: John Hackworth Names a 32-Player U-17 MNT 2016 Spring Residency Roster

Akil as a child with DaMarcus Beasley

Watts following Beasley's path to national team

A great article about Akil, by the News-Sentinel's Blake Sebring.

Fort Wayne native and US National team star DaMarcus Beasley also sent his congratulations to Akil: 

"A huge accomplishment to Akil to be invited to the U-17 residency! Enjoy every second of it and be a sponge to learn everything you can from your teammates and coaches! Congratulations and I look forward to seeing you play once again!"

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