Luis Romero feels impassioned about soccer ever since his father introduced to the sport when he was little.

“Soccer is a very emotional sport so when things don’t go your way it feels like the end of the world,” said Romero. “I always tell myself I need to keep my head high and just keep striving for greatness because mistakes and losses are just part of learning.”

As he became more involved he moved onto playing for the Boys & Girls Club when by the time he was 10. After one season there, he began playing club ball with the Fort Smith Express and the River Valley Football Club. Now, Romero is one of three senior captains for the Van Buren soccer squad.

“I’ve been playing this beautiful sport for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been playing competitively for about seven or eight years,” Romero said. “I just love the passion and the competitiveness that this sport brings out. It strives me to do better every day… not only as an athlete but as a person too.”

Romero’s father continues to be a big part of his playing career.

“He would take me and my brothers to go train all the time and he has always been so supportive of my soccer career,” said Romero. “Even to this day, he shows up to every game and gives me input on what I need to work on to make me a better player.”

Romero enjoys his time playing with the Sunday leagues in Fort Smith “because it’s very fun and competitive,” but has aspirations to play at Camp Nou, the home stadium for the Barcelona Football Club since he’s been a Barcelona fan “for a very long time.”

Prior to playing in a game, Romero strives to eat healthily, drink lots of water, do warm-ups and a prayer.

“What makes our team stand out is our chemistry,” said Romero. “We work well together and we crate plays for the scoring opportunities. Last year our team depended on one person, but without them, we knew in order to compete, we had to work better as a team.”

Van Buren competed at the Spa City Tournament in Hot Springs prior to the eventual shutdown due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. In a match against Conway, the Pointers found themselves without a couple of starters.

“I knew I had to step up and take charge on my own against a really good team,” Romero said. ” I had to lead the defense because the other captains had key roles in the backline, which made it more difficult. We all stepped up and was able to lock down their offense.

“I had some key defensive plays throughout the game and we ended up beating them in penalty kicks for a shot at the finals.”

Romero was born in Fort Smith but was raised in Van Buren his whole life. He was enjoying his math and engineering classes. “I love problem-solving and I’m good when it comes to numbers,” he said. Romero is planning to attend UA-Fort Smith to major in electrical engineering.

His advice for up-and-coming younger soccer players: “Always strive for better. Not only as an athlete but as a human being as well. Also, appreciate every moment because as a senior, your last season will be here before you know it.”

FUN QUESTIONS WITH LUIS ROMERO

What is your biggest or weirdest fear? Tall heights.

If you could have any superpower what would it be? The ability to read minds.

If you could have any kind of pet what would you want? A pet lion.

Since there’s an abundance of free time… what would you be rather doing instead of being quarantined at home? I would rather be playing soccer with friends or going to the gym and just bettering myself.

Biggest pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve would be people who borrow things from me without asking.

Do you have any annoying habits? I have an annoying habit of popping my knuckles.

Who are your inspirations? My father and my mother because they are very hardworking and supportive parents and they inspire me to always do better and work hard.

What is the first thing you’ll do when this crisis or mess is all over? The first thing I’ll do would be to go play soccer with friends and hopefully go back to school to finish my senior year.

Because there is free time… have you gotten caught up on any television shows or reading? I’ve been getting caught up on episodes of “All American” on Netflix.