story by LIESEL SCHMIDT
photography courtesy of D1 TRAINING ALEXANDRIA
While America may have redefined “football” as the gridiron game that relies on brawn, speed and powerful kicks to get the pigskin through the goalposts, football—real football—is a game that riles up nations as trim, muscular athletes use their incredible footwork and coordination to make a goal. More common to the US as "soccer," the game requires strength, focus and agility—not to mention a great deal of practice.
Time on the field is something James McDermitt knows well. To improve the hours he spends there, both during the game and during practice, the 12-year-old St. Thomas Moore student puts himself through the paces at D1 Training, where he works under the expertise of his trainers. “I’ve been going to D1 for almost a year and a half now, since it opened,” says McDermitt, who plays soccer for Villareal Virginia Academy. “The owners’ kids are friends from school. I was doing speed training on my own before it opened, but D1 has significantly more equipment and professional trainers who make it fun.”
“Fun” may not be the first word that springs to mind when most people think of training, but McDermitt seems to have found his place, focusing his efforts on speed, acceleration and all-around athleticism to help him improve his game on the soccer field. “I have gotten faster and stronger from training at D1,” McDermitt observes. “I used to finish in the middle of the pack at sprints and now I’m at the front. The extra strength has given me a much stronger shot, so I can score from farther away.”
At such a young age, McDermitt has a way to go before he reaches a collegiate or professional career, but he’s set his sights far down the field. “I want to be a professional soccer player for Villarreal, so I’m doing whatever it takes to reach that goal,” he says.
McDermitt lives at home with his parents, sister and their Maltipoo, Ruby. When he’s not on the field or in the gym, he likes to hang out with his friends, play basketball or work on his juggling and shooting skills with the soccer ball.