Cooper Axe: Growing Up on the Field


Photo by Sam Freeman

Cooper Axe, 11, does a handshake with a teammate before the Dec. 10 JV soccer game against Cleburne. [File Photo]

Justin Anderson, Staff Writer

At two years old, while Cooper Axe learned to potty train and perfect his English, he was also learning to play soccer. Junior Cooper Axe’s life is soccer, and he’s been competing for 14 years.

“I feel when I play everyone gets a motivation to win and having to compete against teammates is something I love,” Axe said. “ You have to fight for a starting spot every practice and game.”

Axe plays left midfielder, and wears number 32. Every player tells a great story for their number, Axe is no exception. 

“I wear it because my grandpa and dad wore it before me,” Axe said. “I feel when I put the jersey on, I’m representing two generations of my family.” 

Axe witnessed some of his teammates go down with injuries, but he says he hasn’t been through anything too damaging.

“Nothing to take me out for a season, but I did hurt my knee my freshman year,” Axe said.

This injury Axe suffered hasn’t affected his playing time, but he still continues to have some issues with it.

“If I’m driving it will hurt and feel uncomfortable,” Axe said. “ I also need to attend physical therapy to help regain my knee back to one hundred percent use.”

According to the PCA Development Zone, students who play sports end up quitting because of pressure to perform and injuries.  Most of all, those students say it’s just not fun to play anymore. 70% of students end up quitting their sport by age 13. This is not the case however for Axe.

“I started playing when I was two years old,” Axe said. “I played baseball for a little while but nothing could drag me away from the game I loved, so I went back to soccer.”

Axe has played on the high school team under the direction of Coach Micheal Keel for three years.

“Cooper is a junior this year, the last two years he has played on our JV A team,” Keel said. “Not all freshmen and sophomores make the A team, so him doing that spoke a lot to his level.”

After high school, most athletes try to play for a college team. To make a college team, a player has to be elite, committed, and competitive.

“If he works hard and continues to hone his craft I really think he can play in college,” Keel said. “There’s a lot of levels in college and I think Cooper has the tools to play college now.”

In any sport, people grow and develop character. In the eyes of his coach, Axe has grown exponentially.

“He has matured quite a bit since his freshman year,” Keel said. “He plays with a lot of intensity, a lot of heart, but most of all he always gives 100% effort.”