Keller Storlie recalls learning how to play soccer from a very early age. His dad played in college, so he encouraged Keller and his sister early on to take it seriously. It turns out, that early exposure really stuck with Keller.
He played throughout his childhood and eventually joined the club soccer team where he grew up in Portland, Oregon. When he was a sophomore in high school, he had an opportunity to move to Spain and play for Alcorcón, a highly respected club team.
“It was a really exciting opportunity to be able to pursue soccer in Spain,” he said. “Soccer in the United States doesn’t even compare to the number of teams and level of competition available in Spain. And the weather is much nicer where I live in Madrid, so we can get out and play more of the year without the rain and cold.”
Although he was happy to pursue the new opportunity, Keller did have an adjustment period where schoolwork became challenging.
“When I moved to Spain, I first attended a Spanish high school,” he said. “All my classmates and teachers were super nice, but I would try to do the homework or take tests, and I had no idea what I was doing.”
After he failed all of his classes, he realized that he was not on a sustainable path. He knew that at the rate he was going, he was going to fall significantly behind and potentially not graduate on time.
Fortunately, he was able to find a solution. His parents discovered Apex Learning Virtual School, and he enrolled in ALVS his junior year. He said it was a challenge adjusting to an all online curriculum at first, but once he did, he found it easy to use.
“My counselor, Kelly, and all of my teachers, have been really helpful,” he said. “If I need an extension for a class due to my soccer schedule, they have been really patient with me. They respond quickly and work with me to help manage my assignments and due dates to work around soccer.”
Keller just signed with Getafe, a Spanish football club based in Getafe, a city in the south of the Community of Madrid. The team competes in La Liga, the highest tier of the Spanish football system.
Keller is grateful for the experience he’s having in Spain, but he still misses home.
“I had three roommates who were American when I first moved here, so that definitely helped me feel less homesick,” he said. “And I have enjoyed trying Spanish food like paella and the Spanish pancake, and exploring the city of Madrid, but I still really miss food from home and the U.S. culture. I’m more used to it now, but I look forward to coming back to the U.S. eventually.”
Keller will graduate this December and he plans to take the rest of the year off as a gap year. After that, depending on how it goes in Spain, he may come back to the United States for college or pursue an online college.
“Either way, I look forward to continuing to play soccer, and if I can I would like to go pro.”