• Salome Caballero

Spotlight Saturdays: Nate Hodges

Center-back Nate Hodges played with Inter Orlando for almost seven months, showing everyone time and time again how far hard work and effort can take a player.

Training hard and managing to lose 50 pounds twice, Hodges said that he has struggled with his weight for most of his soccer career. This made Hodges learn not only how to push his body, but also how to train his mind during practice and matches.

"I had to use my mind because my body was never going to keep up," Hodges said. "I wanted to become the best version of myself mentally, physically and spiritually."

Hodges said he has played since he was 3 years old, having fallen in love with the game early on. A love that only kept growing after playing and quizzing his friends in all-things-soccer and rooting for Chelsea F.C.

Hodges said that the first position he played was as a striker, loving the feeling of scoring goals, which he did until he was 16. Later on, he became the goalkeeper of his high school team, having gathered the experience from playing with his friends.

Then, he started playing as a center-back, which he considers his best. He said that even though at first he hated the fact that he couldn't score goals as often anymore, he knows that his background as a forward has made him a better defense. This has given him the chance to assist and score a couple of goals per season.

During his time at Inter Orlando, Hodges went on to become Co-Captain and starting every game. He said that one of his favorite moments on his soccer career came from the first time he scored at the club.

Hodges explained that he was going through a rough patch at the time, but that he has always found freedom while playing soccer. He said that even with all the trials that life has, once he steps on the pitch those things are put to rest.

"It's therapeutic," Hodges said. "When I play on the field there's just a passion I can't explain. Just being there with my teammates putting my body on the line for them and knowing they'll do it for me."

With that goal, Hodges put the team ahead and was celebrated by all of his teammates in a moment that he described as powerful because of the connection that they made through the sport.

Hodges said that he was grateful for the experience and he praised how the Academy doesn't solely focus on winning games, but also on training and developing players.

The 23-year-old's efforts have definitely paid off, now being signed with 1. FCA 04 Darmstadt in Germany and currently playing with Sarasota Metropolis FC in the USL League Two while he waits for travel restrictions to be lifted.

He said that in both cases the opportunities came to him not only because of his hard work but also because of his positive outlook in life, something that he has been getting better at with the years and that he said has improved his game.

He said that he can't wait to return to Germany, where he is surrounded by soccer all of the time, but that in the meantime he has big plans in the States.

"If you want something, you work for it," he said.

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