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From Regents Park to collegiate dreams: Willem Bake recounts soccer journey

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Bake
Willem Bake (’25) passes the ball to Santiago Londano (’23) in a match against Frankfurt Internation School Sept. 25, 2022. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

As a varsity soccer player with aspirations to take his skills to the collegiate level, Willem Bake (’25) has always found comfort in the sport he loves.

“[Soccer] gives me a way to express myself and for me to take my mind off of things,” he said. “Especially when school gets stressful, [soccer] is my go-to.”

Bake has been playing soccer since the age of 4. Since he first stepped on the field, he has played a wide range of positions for a multitude of teams, and attributes most of his improvement to the time he spent practicing in Regents Park. 

“I started off as a striker, tried goalie for a bit but then settled as a defender,” Bake said. “A majority of my development came from playing at Regents Park on Saturdays for a team outside of school.”

Bake said he looks up to players like Jack Harrison who found success as a college athlete and then as a professional player.  Harrison went from being a student at Wake Forest University to playing in the Premier League for Leeds United.

“Jack Harrison is a big inspiration of mine because he’s really paved the way for [soccer players] like me,” Bake said. “I get a lot of motivation and belief from his story.”

Being a leader is part of who I am and I love showing that side of myself on the pitch because I believe that playing [soccer] brings it out of me.

— Willem Bake ('25)

Bake said his role on the team as a defender allows him a commanding view of the game, and he can capitalize on this by taking on a leadership role among his teammates.

“With the position I play, I’m able to get a good view of the whole pitch so it’s easy for me to speak up and give my teammates advice,” Bake said.

Mentoring is not just a role for Bake. He described it as a core foundation of his character that becomes magnified when he is playing soccer.

“Being a leader is part of who I am and I love showing that side of myself on the pitch because I believe that playing [soccer] brings it out of me,” Bake said.

To further his ambition of playing soccer at the collegiate level, Bake has been actively reaching out to college coaches by sending them performance videos.

“I make highlight reels and send emails to college coaches in order to put myself out there and make connections,” Bake said.

Moreover, Bake has participated in multiple ID camps to display his skills in front of different college coaches.

“I’ve gone to multiple ID camps across the U.S. to show my ability to different schools,” Bake said.

What Bake said sets him apart from other athletes is his exceptional mental strength. He said he possesses a resilient attitude, which enables him to recover quickly from setbacks.

“My biggest strength is my mentality,” Bake said. “If I ever make a mistake, I’ve learned to bounce back from my errors.”

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About the Contributor
Nassef Sawiris
Nassef Sawiris, Lead Sports Editor
Nassef Sawiris (’25) is the Lead Sports Editor for The Standard, and this is his third year in the publication. Sawiris began his journalism career 5 years ago on the Middle School newspaper, The Scroll. His love for writing covers various topics with the common goal of arguing his opinion and educating the community on issues he feels passionate about. He continues to actively participate in other extracurricular activities such as his role on the varsity soccer team along with his leadership position in the Investment Club.

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