What does Broadneck Area Youth Sports (BAYS) soccer player Nathan Crosby do on the days when his team doesn’t have practice? He usually organizes a game of soccer or basketball at his neighborhood park. A soccer player since age 6, the now 11-year-old athlete loves the social aspect of playing sports.
“He loves it. It’s what he would do all day, every day if he had a chance,” said Nathan’s father, Marc Crosby. “He’s a really dedicated individual. When he puts his mind to something, he goes at it hard.”
Nathan shows a commitment that is rare for his age, watching film of professional athletes like Lionel Messi and Neymar, looking for ways he can model their technique.
His dedication earned him a spot on the 13U team this year. Even though the Chaos finished 6-2 this year, with the season ending on Halloween, he would have played even if his team was in last place.
“It doesn’t matter what the team’s record is,” Nathan said. “I want to lead my team and keep working on self-improvement.”
This season, he has worked to perfect his dribbling by doing cone drills. He cited speed as his best skill, but intelligence is also key to his success.
“The mental part is always fun,” he said. “Through the game, you figure out what the other team’s plan is and how to beat them.
“When they have a fast break, you have to figure out quickly what to do,” he added. “And when you steal the ball from them, you need to know just to kick it out of bounds, or to look upfield and find the open passer or dribble it upfield, so it takes quick decisions.”
Leadership is an important aspect of his game.
“If we’re down at the half, usually we yell, ‘Keep at it,’” he said. “When on offense, I will yell because there are some things they can’t see. I yell either encouragement or the passes, and then also communicate to my defense where they should be going.”
During the winter, Nathan plays point guard for a BAYS basketball team. And if it’s impressive that an 11-year-old studies film for one sport, it’s even more impressive that he studies professional players from two sports. His favorite basketball players include two Boston Celtics: a Hall of Fame forward and a guard who currently plays in the NBA.
“I look up to Larry Bird,” he said. “Also, Marcus Smart; he’s not that much of an offensive, but he plays good defense. That’s what I do in basketball, too. That’s how I am most useful to my team. I score a lot, but I like defense.”
Currently a student at Magothy River Middle School, Nathan wants to eventually play soccer for Broadneck High School.
“It’s fun to play with friends, but mentally it also helps,” he said. “In high school, if you don’t have a high enough grade point average, you can’t play sports. So it helps keep my grades up.”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that Nathan played two tiers above his age level this year. The Chaos manager clarified that the 13U team, in the fall, is comprised of kids ages 10, 11 and 12.
In partnership with The Matt Wyble Team of Century 21, the Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series recognizes the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. Contact Zach Sparks at email@example.com to nominate a young person in our community making a positive impact through sports.