Abbotsford’s Fadden living pro soccer dream in Germany

Ask Magnusen Ford Mariners FC technical director Ian Knight about Grant Fadden, and the superlatives come fast and furious.

Ask Magnusen Ford Mariners FC technical director Ian Knight about Grant Fadden, and the superlatives come fast and furious.

The 17-year-old left back is, in Knight’s estimation, a “great competitor,” a “natural leader” who “leads by example.”

“He’s perhaps an underrated player who hasn’t gained the recognition he should have, in terms of the provincial program,” Knight said of Fadden.

“He’s not flashy – he’s just one of those players who gets on and does a great job. He does a lot of things that can go unnoticed.”

If he’s under-appreciated in his home province, it’s ironic, then, that the effectiveness of Fadden’s game hasn’t escaped the notice of soccer experts overseas.

The Abbotsford native is currently in Germany with SC Feucht, living his dream of playing professionally. SC Feucht, a small club with 13 boys teams and a U23 men’s squad, acts as a feeder program for FC Nuremberg, a team in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league. Fadden’s U19 squad plays in the Landesliga and also sees action in the Cadet National League.

Fadden has been in Germany since early September, and he told The News via email that his experience has been both better and more difficult than he’d expected.

“It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced at home,” he said. “The intensity and pace of play is very high. The biggest difference would have to be the attitude of the players. Everyone is tuned in and ready to perform.”

At the same time, moving away from home and adjusting to a vastly different culture has been a major transition for a youngster who was set to begin his Grade 12 studies at Abbotsford Senior Secondary this fall.

“As a kid you always want to be on your own,” Fadden noted, “but once you get here it’s way harder then you imagined. If it wasn’t for the coach and his wife (my hosts as there wasn’t time to find anyone else) I would be completely lost.

“Culture shock is enormous,” he added. “The language barrier is by far the hardest part, meals and the way of life is all different and takes getting used to.”

Fadden got his introduction to the European pro soccer scene in 2009, when he won a skills competition hosted by English club Bolton Wanderers FC in Chilliwack. He was invited to their Grand Skills Final in England, and competing against young athletes from around the globe, he managed a remarkable victory.

Bolton invited Fadden back a few months later to play for their international academy. He was set to return for a second stint in October 2011, but just a month before his departure, he broke his leg.

This past summer, Fadden’s Grand Skills victory led to an opportunity to train in Germany with a soccer exchange program for two weeks. His performance yielded a placement with SC Feucht.

Fadden, who captained the Mariners’ U17 boys side in the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League, plans to return to Abbotsford in February to finish off his Grade 12 classes. In the meantime, he’s working on four courses – two online, and two at a high school in Feucht – while savouring every minute of his pro soccer odyssey.

“Soccer is the world to everyone (in Germany),” he marveled. “If there is a game being played at any level . . . they go out and support. For me as a player, this is perfect.”

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Abbotsford council has given permission for Chilliwack to use the JAMES wastewater treatment plant for the disposal of trucked liquid waste until the end of September.
Chilliwack gets exemption to Abbotsford bylaw prohibiting liquid waste from other cities

Process in place until September while new facility under construction in Chilliwack

There were a total of 182 deaths of trumpeter swans at Judson Lake over the past winter, according to the Save the Swans website. The lake has the heaviest lead concentration of any known lake, the website states. (PHOTO:
Abbotsford man starts petition, saying lead shot is killing waterfowl in Judson Lake and beyond

Farmer Kevin Sinclair says local lake is ‘poster child’ for swans’ deaths from lead poisoning

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read