|Orlando City Forward Dennis Chin|
(Courtesy of Orlando City Soccer Club)
Wow! Just my luck... at this point I was now, wet and nervous, my hair was a fuzzy mess, but I walked in to Panera anyway. There he was, casually standing there, wearing white jeans and a baby blue button down, he turned and smiled. Then he immediately gave me a hug. I was shocked, we had an instant connection, talking about Orlando, the team, food, the sport, and life.
Ok, I got to start with a little story.... Here goes, like every soccer player who eats, breaths, and sleeps soccer their journey begins with a dream, starts with a story, and turns into a reality, that is both unfathomable and rewarding.
This economics graduate gone soccer pro, Dennis Chin has one heck of a story. He has been through many obstacles to get to where he is at and will not stop until he gets to where he wants to be and that is playing along with some of soccer’s greatest legends in the MLS.
It all began in Kingston, Jamaica where Chin was born and lived with his family; always being athletic, his parents wanted him to run track. But little did they know, Chin had another dream he wanted to follow. By age 9 he discovered a new sport, one that would soon become the object of his greatest desire. This is where the beginning of those dreams became his reality, playing on the streets with the neighborhood kids.
At the age of 11, the Chin family moved to America, settling in Oviedo, Florida where his obsession with the sport became an addiction. Not the biggest or tallest of players, Chin still managed to have an all-star career at Oviedo High School and went on to be a starter for Rollins College team as well. "I was determined to be the best and know everything I could, even dealing with the struggle of my size throughout the years," said Chin, who now measures in at a full 6’-1” tall. His professional debut came with Orlando City starting in 2010 where he was brought on shortly after the team moved into town.
With such a captivating life story I was eager to dive into my 11 Questions interview and find out more about Orlando City’s star Forward.
1. What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
Winning the USL PRO Championship last year (2011) with Orlando City.
2. What one or two things do you currently do in your training that is a key to your success?
Working on my runs off the ball and technical drills for touch.
3. What would be your ultimate achievement?
Great question. It would be winning a major 1st division title or playing in one of the best leagues in the world.
4. How do you set your goals?
By thinking of challenges that will push my abilities to the maximum.
5. What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge is trying to stay sharp and play to my full potential at all times. I manage that by trying to train well and learn as much as I can from my coaches.
6. What is your diet like?
Hmmm, I try to eat healthy and fuel my body for the strains of the sport.
7. Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, and coaches)?
Hahaha, wow, there are many out there for players, I would say, try to watch as many matches as possible and learn from them.
8. Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?
Yes I have! Mostly because of the coaching I have receive from (Orlando City) Coach Heath.
9. What was the best advice you were ever given?
Easy! Always look to get better everyday no matter what level you are.
10. Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Hahaha, no not really. I guess if I had to say something it would be to just always do your best because you never know who is watching.
11. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Well... good question, probably just the desire to make my family and everyone who is supporting me proud.
Each athlete has a story, whether it’s from having a dream and turning it into a reality, or just being at the right place at the right time, each story is uniquely different and contains a tremendous amount of inspiration, especially for those readers who are athletes too, looking to go pro.
Thanks so much to Dennis for taking the time to talk to me and best of luck to him and the rest of the Orlando City Lions as to push into the playoffs towards a repeat USL PRO Championship!