• Salome Caballero

Spotlight Saturdays: Tyler Pletcher

Tyler Pletcher wasn't always a fan of his position as a goalkeeper. However, as someone who is always up for a challenge, he learned how to love it and make the most out of it pretty soon.

He said that the position (and soccer) came to him naturally after trying a lot of different sports. It's the different abilities that he picked up from his childhood that have made him who he is right now, and although he wasn't fully convinced at the beginning, former coaches realized the potential he had.

Now, he appreciates his role and the different skills it requires.

"You can show off more things than just your foot," Pletcher said. "[You can show] some speed, show off your arms, show off a hand as well."

The Tampa native, who has been playing since he was 7, said that one of the reasons why soccer struck a chord with him growing up more than any other sports is because his father was also a soccer player.

" I always thought was cool to follow his path," Pletcher said. "I always enjoyed time playing with him"

However, his career faced a little bump along the way when he had to have ACL surgery and had to take 10 months for his recovery.

It was after that that he found out about Inter Orlando, where he found a team to ease him into recovery and push him to reach and top his previous level. He said that being back as a goalkeeper felt amazing.

"That was really my recovery," Pletcher said. "That was what really got me back in a game I thought I was completely done with doing anything to that level."

Pletcher said that on Inter Orlando he found a welcoming team that helped him get back in shape, but also regain his attitude. He ended up training for the whole year and playing the full season.

After that, Pletcher signed with German team 1. FCA 04 Darmstadt, where he hopes to return as soon as travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are lifted. He said that while he's still figuring out how to get back to Europe, he's training with some teams in St. Pete, working on maintaining his level.

Pletcher described signing with FCA Darmstadt as one of the best experiences in his life and said that living in Europe, where soccer reigns as a sport is a dream come true.

He admitted that the language barrier can be difficult, but he's never been the type to shy away from a challenge.

As for what he hopes for the future, the short term goals are to go back to Europe and to add some pound on weight. Then, a little farther along]the way, he hopes to be settled as a footballer, hopefully on his dream team Orlando City, and representing his country as part of the American National Team.

Pletcher said that one of the most important things he has learned from soccer is the value of camaraderie. He said that making connections doesn't always come easy for him but that soccer is the exception. He also said that the sport has given him a purpose in life.

“If there’s something that you love, you gotta go for it," Pletcher said. "You gotta love the sport, you gotta love the grind and those early mornings when no one else is watching you doing all this work by yourself in the shadows”

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