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From Sporting Kansas City Academy to Belmont University: The Journey of Goalkeeper Grant Calvert

Belmont University goalkeeper Grant Calvert

You might know him as @grannycalvs on TikTok and now you get the chance to learn more about his incredible goalkeeping journey during our recent interview below! He shares really great insight about his time in an MLS Academy and how it shaped his path to collegiate soccer and he even shares some intriguing insight about training with an MLS starting goalkeeper! Dive into the full interview below.

1. Everybody knows that the goalkeeping position typically isn't the most coveted spot when you're first starting out in the sport. What drew you to the position?

How I started playing as a goalkeeper is quite funny. I wasn't good at running or playing with the ball at my feet, and I was the tallest and strongest player on my team. So, they put me in the goal, and it turned out I was really good at it. I loved stopping players one-on-one and didn't mind getting hit by the ball. I enjoyed diving for the ball and getting a bit messy.

2. You spent part of your youth career playing with the Sporting Kansas City Academy team. What was that experience like for you? How did it prepare you for the next level.

Being part of the Sporting Kansas City Academy changed my life. I learned a lot about soccer and also grew up a lot as a person. I learned to keep pushing and to do my best every day. I saw what it took to be a professional player and every day was a challenge, but it made me stronger and more independent on and off the field. 

3. You also excelled with your high school team. A lot of soccer players these days are making the decision to step away from high school and focus on club soccer; what made you want to play high school soccer?

I always wanted to play soccer for my high school as soon as I got there. When I found out I wouldn't get a contract with Sporting KC 2, I had to decide whether to enjoy my last year of soccer with my friends or keep chasing a dream that most likely wouldn’t come true. I'm glad I chose to play for my high school. It was the most fun I've ever had playing soccer. I made friends for life, and it felt special to represent something bigger than just myself. I think every player should experience playing for their school. It might not make you the best player technically, but it teaches you about being part of a community and playing for more than just yourself. 

Grant Calvert Belmont University

4. What was your recruiting experience like while you were searching for colleges? What were some of the positives and negatives?

My experience with trying to get into college soccer had its ups and downs. After leaving Sporting, I only had one offer from a D1 college, and it didn't feel right. During my last year of high school, I worked hard, sending emails and going to camps and showcases to find a good soccer program. It was hard work and stressful, but it taught me to keep going even when things seemed tough. I learned to handle pressure well and to put myself out there instead of waiting for opportunities to come to me.

5. What was the transition to collegiate soccer like? Having played at a high-level MLS Academy, did you find the transition to be pretty smooth in terms of the playing level?

Moving to college soccer was tough. I went from being one of the best at my high school to heavily struggling at Saint Louis University. I wasn't as fit or skilled as I needed to be, but it didn't get me down. It made me want to work even harder and showed me that I needed to do more off the field to get better. College soccer was different in every way—physically, in the way we played, and in the team culture.

6. You spent time at Saint Louis University with Columbus Crew starting goalkeeper Patrick Schulte. What was it like competing with a goalkeeper of that quality every day?

Training with Pat was one of the best experiences I've had. He was the best goalkeeper I've ever worked with. He was great at everything - distribution, catching, diving, and he had a great attitude. Everyone knew he would make it big, but he succeeded faster than anyone thought. He was a phenomenal person who gave me tips and showed me small things to do every day to get ready.

Grant Calvert Belmont University

7. You're currently at Belmont University playing soccer. Why did you decide to transfer and what benefits have you seen from it?

After finding out I wouldn't be the starting goalkeeper after Patrick Schulte was going to be drafted, I decided to move to Belmont University. It was hard because I thought I would be the next main goalkeeper until I got injured. I wasn't happy with how I was acting off the field, and I wasn't enjoying soccer anymore. So, I needed a change. Belmont was exactly what I needed. The coaches and my teammates helped me get back to being the goalkeeper I used to be, and helped me change my mental frame and perspective on life. I'm forever thankful for them and the university. 

8. You've built a good following on social media, sharing goalkeeping content including advice for younger goalkeepers. What advice would you give to goalkeepers who want to reach the collegiate level?

My advice to goalkeepers wanting to get better is not to compare yourself to others. I always used to do that when I was younger, and comparing myself to others didn't help at all. It's better to focus on improving a little bit every day. 1% better everyday is something we heavily focus on at Belmont. Every good choice you make helps you get closer to your goals no matter how big or small. I strongly believe If you work hard and are a good person, things will work out the way they are meant to be. 

9. What are your goals for the sport long-term? Do you want to play professionally? Possibly become a coach?

My goal is to play soccer as long as I can. I've dreamed of being a professional since I was a kid, and I'm not giving up. I also love coaching, so maybe I'll do that after I'm done playing. I'm just focusing on the next year and not thinking too far ahead.

10. Who is your favorite goalkeeper of all time? 

My favorite goalkeeper is Manuel Neuer. He's an amazing player and has won everything. He's a big inspiration to me.


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