Super baby soccer player Travis McHunter is the first “Under One” player to be accepted by the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Travis’s road to the top began when a viral video posted by his father blew up the internet with almost 14 views and multiple comments from his dad about Travis’s gifts as a player. In the video, Travis, in his crib, skillfully kicks a cushiony soccer ball fourteen inches. To prove it, his father is shown with a measuring tape, tracking the distance.
Travis’s father, Michael McHunter, knows talent when he sees it. As a youth soccer coach and former player, he has the ability to recognize greatness almost instantly.
“I see a lot of babies play soccer,” Michael says, “And I was astounded to see that my own son had an ability that went way beyond his peers.”
Despite his enormous potential, Michael is leery of bringing Travis into the competitive world of soccer too fast.
“I’m not going to push him,” he says. “I think that’s the key. To just let all this happen naturally. Right now, all Travis wants is to be a pro soccer player, but I keep telling him to just slow down a little and enjoy being a baby.”
Through his coaching contacts, Michael was able to get Travis a tryout for a nearby USSDA club, which told him there was no such thing as a U1 level team. Michael then asked if Travis could “play up” several years, maybe for the U14 team.
The academy coach agreed to the idea, saying, “Michael made me a fifty-thousand dollar no interest, pay-it-back-or-don’t-pay-it-back loan to help me with some personal issues I’m having. Not a lot of guys would do that. So, I trust him. And when he tells me he’s never seen a baby with as much untapped potential as Travis, I believe him.”
An early collegiate, full-ride offer from UCLA came next, but Travis is still considering his options.
“Gahhh!” he seemed to say.
“It’s too early to make a decision like that,” his father adds. “Maybe he’ll go pro instead. Who knows? I think this needs to be organic.”
Even with Travis’s obvious gifts, there are many obstacles ahead on his quest to be the “American Messi.” Not being able to walk is a huge setback, for instance.
“He can do it all,” Michael tells us. “Except for walking. That’s part of his game he knows he needs to work on and develop.”
U.S. soccer scouts aren’t worried though. Under condition of anonymity, one told us, “Listen. Travis checks all the boxes to make it in the USSDA. His dad is a coach. His dad is rich. And I’m pretty sure his dad is calling me right now. I need to take this.”
What does the future hold for Travis? Another insider at U.S. Soccer explains:
“The whole concept of not knowing what’s going to happen in the future is something we’re really getting rid of. It’s just too much pressure. We’re shifting to a new model where we’ll know exactly what’s going to happen to players from an early age. We want to start an under five-year-old national team eventually, so that we can identify the best talent in the country as early as possible. In Travis’s case, he’s set for life. It’s kind of predetermined. I’m sorry. Not kind of. It’s totally predetermined.”
Travis will make his national team debut in 2032, making him the youngest player to ever start for the U.S. soccer national team.
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