This fall has been a particularly busy and productive time for Atholton senior fullback Derek Chan.
The four-year varsity player and team captain has the No. 6 Raiders off to a 4-1 start, scoring four goals and adding two assists, while also holding down the right side of the defense.
Over the weekend weekend, he visited Emory University in Atlanta and made a commitment to play there next year.
Chan also plays for the Baltimore Bays in the summer, and he won a national championship with them in 2009. This past summer, he traveled to England after being selected to play for the Disney Showcase All-Star Team.
In addition to soccer, Chan volunteers his time at Grassroots, a family shelter in Columbia. He maintains a 3.5 GPA and says he would like to get into the medical field.
How difficult is it playing in Howard County, and how does it help you prepare for the playoffs?
It's just one test after another. I believe it's the toughest county in the state, and I'm pretty sure it's tougher to win the county than to win states most years. It's obviously good preparation for the playoffs, so I'm pretty sure if we do well in Howard, we'll also do well at states.
What's it going to take to bring home a state title this season?
This being my senior year, it's my last chance to get that state ring, and with 12 seniors on the team, we're all going ot have that same mentality to win, so we're hoping for that state championship.
What did you take from your chance to play in England?
I was surprised to be picked, and it was a great experience. I was able to play with all the best players in the country. The level of play was really high, and the play was also fast. I remember playing one of the England teams, and after the game the coach of that team came over to my coach asking about me. He cited me as one of top players on the team, so I was excited from that.
Why did you choose Emory?
It has one of the best medical programs in the country, and I want to do something in the medical field, so that helped me decide to go there. The visit was really fun, too. I got along really well with the team and the coach was nice.
What's one thing people may not know about you?
I'm a really good cook. I can cook up a meal any time.
What do you like to cook?
Pasta, because it's the easiest. You just get the pasta boiling and then I like to make my own concoction with the sauce — just putting random stuff in it is real fun. I like having seafood in my food, so I like to throw some shrimp in there.
How do you help out at Grassroots?
I volunteer at the shelter once a week and mentor the kids for two hours. Their parents are going through a tough time, so I take the kids away from the stressful environment for a while and either help them with homework or we'll do whatever they want with their free time. It's not about the hours, because I already have my community time for school in to graduate — I just like seeing smiles on their faces because I know they're going through a tough time. I just like helping them out.
What's the best advice you've received?
If you work hard, you'll succeed. My parents have told me that many times, whether it's concerning soccer or school or anything in life.
What was the best moment you've enjoyed on the soccer field?
The best soccer moment I've had was winning nationals for my club team. It was just really exciting to win the whole thing, and it just felt so good knowing you're No. 1 in the nation.