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Athlete Worth Watching: Justin Gielen of DeMatha Catholic High School

Nov 29, 2017 02:00PM
By Sabrina Jordan

Hustling down the field or up the court is all Justin Gielen, rising senior at DeMatha Catholic High School, can ever dream about. Due to this athlete’s ambition, confidence, and commitment, those dreams are not too far from his reach.

The 17-year-old is following in his parents’ footsteps. His mother, Karin Gielen, played college soccer, and his father, Michael Gielen, played college basketball. He admires them greatly and places them on a pedestal for inspiration. He also admits that his professional idol is Lionel Messi.

“I was pretty much born with a ball in hand and foot,” Gielen says.

Gielen has played soccer and basketball for as long as he can remember. The sports have been two of the most central parts of his life, but this past school year he decided to focus on a more serious pursuit in soccer. The forward has been a part of DeMatha’s varsity soccer team his entire high school career, where he had the honor of being named captain this past year.

“My brother was captain his senior year when I was a freshman on the team,” Gielen says. “I learned that the best way to be a leader is to lead by example.”

Being a National Honor Society member, a Student Government Association member, and carrying a 4.3 GPA, sounds almost unbelievable for a student athlete. Gielen says balancing school, sports, and a social life can sometimes be difficult, but is manageable.

“Most of the time I end up dropping my social life, but I’m okay with that,” Gielen admits. “You have to sacrifice for your goals sometimes. I communicate with my teachers and coaches a lot and they’re very supportive.”

Gielen couldn’t have been more stoked to compete in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series, which was held in July, with his Baltimore Celtic SC team. The players flew out to Frisco, Texas and won their first three preliminary games. They won 4-1 in the Semifinals and came out on top as the National Champions with their 2-1 win over FC Dallas. Gielen scored the second goal halfway into the second half. He scored a total of six goals during the championship games, which put him as the leading top scorer in his bracket.

This recent win sets Gielen up for what could be a successful senior year. Looking into his final season, Gielen aims to become Player of the Year for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). He will continue to play on the varsity basketball team, as well.

The forward’s aspirations are soon to be reality, as he has committed to playing soccer for University of Maryland at College Park. He isn’t completely sure about what he wants to study, but is considering business.

“The real goal is to play soccer professionally and if I had that chance I would be crazy to not take it,” Gielen says. “I think that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I do realize, though, that I would need a different career afterwards, and I think business would be a good option for me.”

Keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned for this Maryland native because he will be making national headlines in the years to come.