EAST LANSING, Mich. — In a year when most of us aren’t going much of anywhere, one Haslett teen has traveled across the globe to chase his dreams.
Brandon Dixon is just 17 years old but he has already played soccer in five countries. The young athlete has no plans of stopping his travels.
“We were like … where’s Serbia? We had to look at a map,” Dixon’s mother, Dominica Palacio said.
Dixon is spending what would be his junior year as a Haslett High Viking at the Marbella Futbol Academy in Serbia where he completes his classwork virtually between training sessions.
“It’s been really amazing that I’ve gotten to go to many countries to play soccer … my dream’s always been to play in Europe,” Dixon said.
But Dixon hasn’t spent a lot of time taking in the sights between his online classwork and his daily trainings. He’s focused on learning new skills.
“You’ve just got to stay focused 24/7 even if it’s like not a good day. You’ve still just got to try your hardest,” Dixon said
His journey almost ended before it began.
“As a triplet he was born really early. They told me that he wasn’t going to make it. He was born at 28 weeks and 2 pounds … to see him, a healthy, aspiring professional athlete is so much,” Palacios shared.
Brandon’s soccer career started right here in Lansing, alongside his siblings on a Lansing Parks and Recreation team.
He played in his first international tournament at thirteen years old coached by former professional soccer player Dennis Brose with the North American Soccer Academy.
“Brandon did really well for us in Greece. He was our leading goal scorer. His demeanor really lends well to a professional soccer player. The humility and the maturity that he showed was a positive for him,” Brose told Fox 47 News.
Brandon’s travels are far from over, in February he’ll make his way to Sweden for a tryout with Vasalunds IF, a second-division prep academy that helps athletes train for professional recruitment.