Student Spotlight: William Burger, Soccer Player

5/20/20

What do you call someone who’s more than a triple threat? A William Burger. A leading man in musicals, rock band drummer, soccer player, food bank volunteer—the list goes on. Plus, he accomplishes all of this while continuing his education and is currently injured. Is there one word to describe William Burger? Inspiring.

A worldly wonder

Born in England to South African parents, William has certainly seen a lot of the world at such a young age. He now calls Naples, Florida home and has filled his days with music and soccer.
Soccer has been a part of his routine since he was two. “My inspiration for playing soccer roots from the excitement and challenges [of] playing goalkeeper.” His passion for the game led to being recruited to play for IMG Academy. After one season at the Under-15 (U15) level, Wiliam was recruited by the former global director of Nike to play soccer in Spain. “My family and I decided to travel to Marbella, Spain, to play with his academy for the first four months of my Sophomore year, which prompted the necessity of switching to an online schooling system.”

After competing at the senior level, William was offered a spot in the U19 team at only 15 years old. Unfortunately, Spanish regulations prohibit minors from signing, so it was back to England for the Burgers. William played with various League One U18 and Premier League academies until experiencing another setback. Not only did a pandemic change the course of his plans (and the world), but “during a training session at Shrewsbury Town FC in England, I picked up a UCL sprain and a fracture to my right elbow, leaving me out for two to three months.” His family returned to Florida before any travel restrictions were set, and William found himself with plenty of free time to recover.

Can’t stop him now

While many might see “free time” as a perfect opportunity to relax, lay low, and fully recover, William had different ideas. “I knew that I needed to get involved in the community to do my part.” With the current crisis hitting area families hard, William turned his recovery time into helping others recover as well. “I knew that the financial hardships that the pandemic caused had strenuous effects on many households worldwide, which gave me the idea of volunteering at a food bank.” He reached out to the organizers of Meals of Hope and began packing food at their warehouse and then helped to distribute to those in need—all with only one good arm. Even with certain risks involved, William recruited friends and family to help as well. His efforts were noticed and spotlighted in a local magazine where they praised him for his positive light in these dark times. 

Finding time to focus

With all William has going on, education is still a priority. That’s why his family searched for alternative options when given the opportunity to travel to Spain. Laurel Springs came highly recommended by another athletic friend. As a high school sophomore, this is William’s first year as a Laurel Springs student and first experience with an online school. “Surprisingly, the transition between a brick-and-mortar school to an online school was very easy, mainly due to the supportive teachers and inclusive students... During my first few weeks of school, all of my teachers sent welcome emails, offered to assist with any questions that I had in their iClassrooms, and connected with me on a meaningful level.” It meant so much that after becoming active on Laurel Springs social media (LSS Connect), attending various club meetings, and getting to know fellow students, William felt comfortable enough to become a Student Ambassador and Grade Level Representative. “My teachers have impacted me by encouraging me to be the best version of myself.”

What does William love most about Laurel Springs?

  1. A flexible, recommended due date system. “One might assume that the lack of penalties for a late assignment promotes laziness, but with the support of the involved teachers and my amazing parents, I have not fallen behind once this whole year!”
  2. He’s now a man with a plan.Laurel Springs has helped me to grow as an individual and improve my planning skills.”
  3. Learning responsibility. “Because of the need to stay on track with work and reach out to teachers if I do not understand something.”
  4. Organization and clear communication. “I have never experienced any problem that was not fixed swiftly because the staff cares about each student’s prosperity on their path through school.”

What’s next for William?

For someone who’s constantly elevating every project he undertakes, what could possibly come next? Anything. While the injury and current state of the world has sidelined his soccer plans, he’s not given up on the sport. “I am looking at finding an academy team in the US at the moment. When my elbow heals and the teams begin practicing again, I will attend various trials with MLS academies, as well as other high-level academies around the country.” Of course, he’ll continue courses with Laurel Springs and prepare for the next big adventure that comes his way.