YORKTOWN — Isaiah Chisolm has played a lot of soccer in his young career, including a slot on Lionsbridge FC. The Yorktown native is now playing as a member of the University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s soccer team.
Chisolm began playing soccer, like most kids, by participating in recreational leagues.
“I was probably about five or six years old. This was recreational league where my parents were the coaches and I was really just doing it for fun. I remember loving it as a little kid,” Chisolm said. “There’s no other sport where I could stretch my legs like soccer. I always loved to run and I was always fast and athletic. Soccer was just the perfect sport for me.”
Thanks to a training camp he attended in his youth, he started to pursue his passion a little more seriously.
“During the summer of my sixth grade year, I trained with Johnny Yu, a Korean soccer player and coach. I really fell in love with the sport and knew I wanted to pursue soccer. He gave me confidence. He was a great coach for me and a great mentor,” Chisolm said.
After a summer of playing for Lionsbridge FC, Chisolm got to represent his hometown during the USL League Two Championship. In addition to his time with Lionsbridge, Chisolm also played for Loudon United.
“It was a great experience with a lot of high-level players. Being in a professional environment, it just makes me a better player. It’s really prepared me and helped develop me into a better person and player,” Chisolm said.
With TowneBank Stadium as the backdrop, Chisolm was a fan favorite. Lionsbridge being his hometown team added even more excitment each time he took the field.
“It was an unreal experience. I’d look up into the crowd as I’m standing on the field and I’d see familiar faces, old teachers, old coaches, friends, family, just everyone I know. I could really see what I accomplished in front of my own eyes and it was so amazing to see so many supporters. It made me feel so proud,” Chisolm said.
Now on the pitch for University of Kentucky, Chisolm is balancing being an athlete with academics. However, he knows he has found his home away from home.
“UK had me on their radar. I went to visit and the staff and the culture they build at Kentucky is exactly what I was looking for. They are a school that I can tell is on the up and coming track. They have not had an NCAA Championship in soccer, but they are still a really good school and we have something to prove here and I think I can be a part of making history here at Kentucky,” Chisolm said.
Competing in his first NCAA soccer season, Chisolm has high hopes for the program.
“I’d love to win a NCAA Championship and make history. I look forward to learning from the guys who have five or six years in the college environment. I know I have a lot to learn, but I think I’m good enough to make an impact at UK,” Chisolm said.
Although he is still a young player, he has experienced many “pinch me” moments.
“Making my commitment to University of Kentucky was a special moment. I think I made my family really proud when I committed to play in college. Playing for Lionsbridge was another special moment because I got to represent Yorktown and play for my home team,” Chisolm said.
It is not lost on Chisolm that during the season there are eyes watching him at all times. For young soccer fans, he wants to be a role model.
“Put in the time, put in the work. There were rarely days when I didn’t have a ball at my feet. If you want it bad enough, then work hard enough for it. If you do that, the pieces will all fall into place,” Chisolm said.
Overall, he has one goal.
“All I want to do is play this game for as long as I can.”