Feature: Nat Borchers The Pride of Colorado The Pride of America

DENVER CO (ColoradoRapids.com)- While Tuesday March 1st 2005 might be an uneventful day for many soccer players throughout the United States and the world for one local Colorado player it means the beginning of a new page in his soccer career as he has risen to the top of the American soccer world in a very short time.

His story while inspiring for any Coloradan and really any American also proves to the world that Major League Soccer has arrived at a stage after its first 10 years of existence in which it is already producing players that were inspired by soccer played within the league and those one-time youngsters are now professional athletes themselves.

Having grown up in the Centennial State playing his youth high school college and now Major League soccer in Colorado Rapids defender #9 Nat Borchers has had the rare opportunity of interacting with players that once served as an inspiration for his career.

Borchers will be taking the training field with the United States National Team in Carson California in his first full national team call-up since becoming a professional athlete in 2002.

For a player that has always taken advantage of the opportunities that life has presented him with the call-up was a total surprise. "It caught me off guard because I was never expecting to be called up to this camp said Borchers. "I was very excited and I don’t think I slept at all through the next three or four nights."

Continuing with his approach to the game he loves he is ready to take advantage of this opportunity just as he did with the Rapids in 2002 when he walked into training camp without being drafted straight off the fields at DU and gained a starting eleven spot in the Major League.

"I think it is true what they say about opportunities when they knock on the door you have to take advantage of them. I don’t have anything to lose in this camp but I do have everything to win during it. I will completely enjoy my first experience with the full national team."

The Pueblo Colorado native is not new to the concept of representing his country as he was called upon to wear the United States National team colors for the Under-23 side when attempting to qualify for the Olympics last year. As he continues to climb the ladder to the top Borchers recognizes the values that have taken him to this point in his career.

"I think that I learned a lot since I started playing professionally but if there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s to come every day to practice knowing that I have a job to do and that I’m not just out there just to have fun solely. I do have fun and I love what I do but I’ve always had a very professional approach knowing that I have a lot of responsibilities on and off the field. I wake up every morning knowing that and doing my best to become a better soccer player."

Identifying patience as one of the main things he has taken in during his short but successful career the Pueblo East High School graduate knows exactly what to expect from this new experience.

"It would be ludicrous to think I can plan on going in and becoming a starter for the USA. I just want to go in and contribute to the team in any way I can and do whatever I can to help them qualify for the 2006 World Cup even if that contribution only comes on the training field I will still do my best."

Conversing with Borchers one notices that he definitely gives the confidence of a veteran player even though he is only starting his third season as a professional. Even the former DU Pioneer defender has to stop and think for a minute to reflect on how much his life has changed in such a short time.

"Three years ago I was playing for the University of Denver. I was a Junior going to be a Senior and I was just trying to get my exams completed while playing for the Rapids and I for sure wasn’t planning on being in this position so soon. It has been a heck of a ride and I’m hoping it will continue."

"I always looked up to international players like Ronald Kohman Dennis Bergkamp and Jurgen Klinnsman. Closer to home I was always really impressed by Rapids players Steve Trittschuh and Marcelo Balboa. Getting to know them as I do now I’m just more impressed by them and happy that I looked up to them as a kid because they are not only great soccer players but also top-notch people."

Now that he has become a role model himself Borchers has already words of advice for the children and fans that come to the stadium and watch him play just as he watched Balboa and Trittshuh a couple of years ag

"I think it is very important to set goals for yourself and specifically write them out and be able to look at them every day to make sure you do your best to achieve them said Borchers. "This simple method has helped me to get where I am right now. You also have to make sure that whatever it is that you are doing you always have to enjoy it. If you love what you do and have a respect for it and the responsibilities that it brings you will always be on the right track to achieve your goals in life."

The next big step for the US National Team is their titanic "Border War" with archrivals Mexico taking place on March 27. With Borchers in the US camp he has his work cut out for him in trying to earn a starting spot for this pivotal match with all eyes are upon him and the support of the entire state of Colorado at his back.

But for those that know Nat Borchers we know that it won’t be long before he makes it all the way to the top and we see him starting for the USA in the next World Cup.