From tryouts to varsity


October 07, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Harford Tech junior Tan Le is adjusting to life in the United States as well as life on the varsity soccer team. He's been in this country for about five years, coming over from Vietnam. His family lived in the central part of Vietnam.

Le's father died when he was young, and Le came to America with nine brothers and sisters. He's been working hard to learn the language, customs and life in this country, and now speaks English well.

Le, 16, tried out for the Harford Tech junior varsity soccer team as a freshman, but he was cut and didn't try out last year. He gave it another shot this fall and made the varsity squad. Coach Andy Bleichfeld picked Le for the team and placed him at outside midfielder, as the Cobras try to defend their Class 1A North regional title. Le, a reserve, has scored one goal this year. Bleichfeld said Le caught his attention in the tryouts and has been a pleasant surprise.

How difficult has it been to adjust to life in a new place?

I came to the United States and Maryland with my family when I was about 11 or 12 years old. It was hard. You come here, and everything is new and different. Really different.

How hard has it been for you to learn English?

It was very hard for me. I think it took me about two or three years to feel good. Because you don't know what you're talking about and you don't understand it. It was kind of hard that way. I'm doing better now. I'm OK in class.

Why did your family decided to come to the United States from Vietnam?

We came because life in America is better than in my country. My dad died when I was little. My mom is a baby sitter for my sister's kids. There are 10 kids in my family, and I'm the last one. I'm the youngest.

How long have you been playing soccer?

I started to play when I was 9 or 10 years old back in Vietnam. I didn't play a lot there. I play more on the team here. I really like it.

Is soccer different here than in Vietnam?

No, it's about the same. It's a little faster. There's more skills here. I think it involves everything, all kinds of skills.

What do you want to do when you get older?

I want to be a soccer player. I want to play in college and then be a pro. I like Harford Community College [and would like to go there] and then go something else bigger. My favorite player is Ronaldinho from Brazil. He's really popular and he's really good. He's got all kind of skills.

How are you with all of your skills?

I'm OK now, but I'm not really good at everything. I think I'm a good passer. I can shoot, but I'm working on it. I'm working on everything. I want to get better. I want to improve myself every day. Everyone has to work hard to get better.

What do you like about life in the United States?

I like everything. There's a lot of stuff to do here. Lots of chances. When you go to school, after you're finished school, you can get a better job and make more money. In my country, you can't do that as much. You have more chances, more opportunities here.

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