As a Centre Midfielder with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Jeevan Singh Badwal knows that he holds one of the most critical positions on the soccer field, one that sets the pace of the game. “Even on the field, I’m constantly thinking about where the game is going and if I need to pivot the play at any point,” he shares.
Jeevan is part of the Whitecaps FC Boys MLS Academy program, a fully funded program for some of Canada’s top young soccer players. As part of the academy, Jeevan attends the University Hill Secondary School, which allows him to have a custom schedule involving soccer training in the afternoon, from 2-4 pm daily. He trains 4-5 days a week and has games on the weekends.
The U-17 academy team that Jeevan is on plays in the MLS academy league, travelling to the United States to play against other MLS academy teams. Recently they also played at the prestigious Generation Adidas Cup, where they took on teams such as Manchester United. Jeevan is also a part of the second team, Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2), the professional team just below MLS that plays in a league called MLS NEXT Pro, featuring other teams from around MLS. This league is the last stepping stone for players to MLS.
Earlier this year, he was selected for the Canada U-17 men’s soccer team that played the 2023 Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship in Guatemala, beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in the quarterfinals to qualify for the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup that will be played in November.
In preparation for these high-stake matches, Jeevan regularly meditates. He particularly believes in the power of visualization as that helps him set his goal and stay focused during the game. “I need to be mentally agile, yet calm and patient as I play the passes which are crucial to outmaneuvering the other team—and mediation helps me with that,” he shares.
Jeevan considers hard work and dedication his biggest strength, characteristics he deeply respects and looks up to in his idol, Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool Center-Mid. In Jeevan’s words, “To me, Gerrard epitomizes what a Centre-Mid player should be. He was an exceptional leader who consistently worked hard and emerged on top after every game.”
Jeevan aspires to make it to the men’s squad and play in the future U-17 or U-20 world cup. He also hopes to sign a contract with the Whitecaps, either with the MLS, MLS Next Pro, or other professional clubs.
His advice to aspiring soccer players is to work hard, stay humble, and avoid getting overwhelmed by comparing themselves to others. “Just focus on doing your best because that’s the only aspect in your hands,” he advises. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, spending time with his family, and coaching his younger siblings, who also love soccer.