Meet Matty O’Keefe! Matty is 11 years old and has lived on Lido Isle for two and a half years now. Matty attends Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School and just finished the 5th grade. Matty is a talented soccer player with a true passion for the game. He plays for Pateadores Soccer Club as a forward and goalie. His Pat’s coach, Ivan, is described as Matty’s favorite coach. I can personally attest to that – Ivan is a fantastic coach, as he used to be an assistant coach for my team some years ago.
There is an endless amount of world-class players to choose from when picking an idol, however, for Matty, he idolizes Diego Maradona. Maradona is extremely popular in the soccer world. He is considered one of the best players of all time and an Argentinian hero for bringing home the world cup famously with the play known as “The Hand of God.” Matty’s hopes are to one day be as good as Maradona, so he works hard in practice. He practices at Newport El “best on the beach” twice a week. On top of practice, there are weekend games typically played at fields in Huntington Beach and San Clemente. Unfortunately, Matty has not had the chance to meet a famous soccer player but hopes to one day meet another Argentinian legend, Lionel Messi.
There are so many lessons that Matty has learned from the game of soccer. It has taught him to stay in shape, be prepared, and be a leader guiding him to become a better player. He loves playing soccer due to the fast pace of the game, together with some of his best friends being right next to him on the field. His favorite memory of playing was when there was a crucial penalty kick against his team. If the other team scored, then Matty’s team would tie, and if he saved it (playing goalie), they would win. Along with this, the penalty kick was the last play of the game! The pressure was on for Matty to come up clutch to make the save, and sure enough, he rose to the occasion!
Matty is in grade school right now, however, he plans to attend Newport Harbor High School and then go to the Naval Academy. When finished with the academy, Matty plans to get a successful job and live back on Lido. A tip Matty has for newcomers trying to play soccer is that they better like to run! He says, “Just keep on running, no matter what, and you will be fine!” Keep kicking it, Matty!