Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Cover Story

Jeevan Badwal: Soccer’s Rising Star

Monica Sethi Darpan, 24 May, 2024
  • Jeevan Badwal: Soccer’s Rising Star

"Soccer has given me structure, discipline, and a platform to inspire others, My ultimate aim is to play at the highest level and to bring pride to my community and country".

Jeevan Badwal, a rising star in Canadian soccer, embodies the dreams and aspirations of a vibrant South Asian community in British Columbia. From his early days playing with Surrey FC, influenced by a family deeply rooted in soccer, Jeevan's journey has been shaped by passion, dedication, and a profound familial support system. His parents have been his cornerstone, providing logistical support and the emotional backbone necessary for his ascent in the sport.

Jeevan's soccer career significantly turned when he joined the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and the Canada National U20 team. Known for his robust play as a center midfielder, Jeevan's style—marked by solid box-to-box gameplay, effective ball handling, and tactical prowess—has made him a standout athlete. His ability to win tackles and maintain control under pressure reflects his physical capabilities and a mental acuity well beyond his years.

At just 17, Jeevan's accomplishments are impressive. He was the youngest player at the Whitecaps FC preseason in Marbella, Spain, and has significantly contributed to the team's successes in the MLS NEXT Pro league. His participation in high-stakes tournaments, such as the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he started all three matches for Canada, showcases his growing influence on the field. Most notably, his selection for the 2023 MLS NEXT All-Star Game underscores his rising profile within the sport.

Sponsorship plays a crucial role in Jeevan's career, as it does for many young athletes. "Sponsorships help open up new opportunities and support my growth. They're crucial for overcoming the financial barriers that many young players face," explains Jeevan. These partnerships are vital for providing resources to propel talented players like him onto bigger stages.

Facing challenges such as adapting to the professional rigours of soccer, Jeevan relies on a robust support network and his resilient spirit. Despite encountering racism in his early years, he has found a supportive and inclusive environment within the Whitecaps program, which has helped him focus on his growth as an athlete and individual.

Looking ahead, Jeevan's goals are clear: securing a spot on the Vancouver Whitecaps First Team and representing Canada in the 2026 World Cup. "Soccer has given me structure, discipline, and a platform to inspire others," Jeevan shares. "My ultimate aim is to play at the highest level and to bring pride to my community and country."

Jeevan Badwal not only represents the potential of South Asian athletes in Canada but also stands as a powerful example of hope and inspiration, proving that with dedication and support, barriers can be broken, and dreams can be realized on the global stage.

How many hours do you train in a day?

My training schedule varies based on upcoming games, travel plans, and whether the session is light or intense. I train for 1.5 hours on the field and spend an additional hour in the gym five days a week, with one day reserved for games.

What is one achievement you're proud of so far?

I'm proud of two significant achievements: playing in the Under-17 World Cup and signing my first professional contract.

Who is your favourite soccer player, and why?

My favourite players are N'Golo Kanté and Fabinho. I admire them because we share the same position, and they were the best in their roles during their prime.

What advice would you give young athletes aspiring to play soccer professionally?

I advise you never to give up, always stay humble, work hard, ignore negativity, and maintain a positive mindset.


Realizing their dreams & inspiringthe next generation

Realizing their dreams & inspiringthe next generation
In the vibrant and diverse community of British Columbia, six upcoming South Asian athletes are making significant strides in their respective sports, bringing pride and inspiration to the nation and their community.

Saaya Bhandari : A New Force in Lacrosse

Saaya Bhandari : A New Force in Lacrosse
At just 17 years old, Saaya Bhandari is already a prominent name in Canadian lacrosse, known for her skill, tenacity, and ability to inspire. As a player who has shattered barriers and fostered diversity within the sport, Saaya brings a fresh perspective to lacrosse, a field where female athletes of colour like herself were once scarce.

Pari Goyal : A Trailblazer in Rhythmic Gymnastics

Pari Goyal : A Trailblazer in Rhythmic Gymnastics
Introduced to rhythmic gymnastics at a local community center when she was four, Pari quickly fell in love with the grace and discipline the sport demanded. Her passion, fueled by rhythmic gymnastics' unique blend of strength, coordination, flexibility, and apparatus technique, contrasted beautifully with the sport's inherent artistic expression.

Angel Billen : Weightlifting Her Way to the Top

Angel Billen : Weightlifting Her Way to the Top
Angel Billen stands out as a symbol of strength and determination in the Canadian sports arena, especially in weightlifting. As the number one youth weightlifter in British Columbia and a commanding presence on the international stage, Angel's journey through the world of sports is inspiring and transformative, especially for women in athletics.

Robin Thind : Field Hockey Prodigy

Robin Thind : Field Hockey Prodigy
Robin Thind, a rising star in field hockey, exemplifies the power of dedication, skill, and community support. Representing the South Asian community in Canada, his journey from a young enthusiast to a pivotal player on the under-21 Canadian team showcases the impact of local sports infrastructure in nurturing talent.

Angela Arora : Teeing Up for Global Golf Success

Angela Arora : Teeing Up for Global Golf Success
At just 19, Angela Arora has quickly risen and is making a mark in golf. Her introduction to golf came when she was just six, spurred by her father's enthusiasm for the sport. Her passion was ignited further when she witnessed the prowess of professional golfers at the CPKC Women's Open. This event solidified her aspiration to reach the pinnacle of golfing excellence.