Magnus Darrington, 14, is an eighth grader at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven. Despite yet being a freshman, Darrington is a member of the school’s varsity soccer team and recently was chosen to compete for the Florida team in the Regional Olympic Development Program Championship last month. During the four-game, weekend-long event, Darrington helped anchor the defense for his team, which won the championship.
What was it like to be selected for the Olympic Development Program?
I tried out for the Olympic Development Program last year, as well, so this was a follow-up year where I was hoping I could get in again and I did. It was a major accomplishment for me. I was grateful to be on the team.
You not only made the team, but your team — Team Florida — won the Regional ODP Championship last month. What was that like?
Winning was amazing — that was the biggest award I've won from playing soccer for seven years. It was great to see what could happen if you have a great team and players and put in the work.
How did you come to get involved in soccer?
I was just trying out sports when I was really young and that was the sport I stuck with. I like how fast it is. Nothing is really slow. The whole game, you have to be focused and quick on your feet. It keeps me in really good shape.
What has it been like playing varsity soccer as an eighth grader, often against opponents who are three or four years your senior?
In seventh grade, I also played on varsity and that was really eye-opening to me. Some kids are huge, but as I got bigger I feel more comfortable playing with the bigger kids. It’s just a way to further develop my skills.
Is there an upperclassmen on the team at All Saints who has been particularly helpful for you?
I’d say our center-back, J.P. Wilson. He’s encouraging on the field and even if you mess up he’s one of the first ones to say “it’s okay.”
What do you think you do well out on the field and what is an area where you need to improve?
I’m pretty fast, so that’s one thing I have. Also, I’m naturally good at defending and taking people to a corner and winning the ball. Something I could get better at is my vision of the field and swinging the ball to the other side if a man is open.
What is your favorite subject at school?
My favorite subject is probably math, to be honest. Right now, I’m doing geometry. Math, to me, is engaging and, once you know how to do the work, it becomes easy in a way and fun to do.
What else do you like to do besides soccer and schoolwork?
I sing. I do any singing, really — pop, classical or rap. We have a praise band at All Saints and I’m one of the members of that and I’ll sometimes do things outside of school.