By Julia Maenius, UTSA Athletics Communications
EDITOR’S NOTE: This characteristic seems in UTSA’s sport program for Saturday’s contest with UAB. For the entire program, go to www.GoUTSA.com/program.
Constructing a legacy is a objective of many athletes getting into a brand new program. Laying the muse for continued success was the objective of San Antonio native Spencer Burford.
The senior offensive lineman first padded up for the Alamo Metropolis in kindergarten, starting his profession as a stalwart power on the sector.
“I began taking part in soccer once I was 4 years outdated,” Burford mentioned. “I attempted to play once I was three however they mentioned I used to be too younger. I used to be large enough once I was 4 so I began taking part in on a five- and six-year outdated group. That is when it sort of took off and I acquired to know the sport at a younger age. That’s the place my love of soccer got here from.”
As a two-way power at Wagner Excessive College, Burford recorded 88 tackles and 28 pancake blocks in his senior season. He was chosen to play in a number of all-star video games and obtained first-team district and space accolades.
“I had lots of applications coming in however on the finish of the day, it’s important to dial down and decide,” Burford mentioned. “I actually simply tried to begin up this system. The principle purpose why I stayed was to begin up this system, put the town on the map and attempt to get extra recruits which can be from San Antonio.”
Having been recruited in 2017, Burford made the choice to remain in his hometown to work with different native gamers to achieve traction for the budding program.
“Quite a lot of time San Antonio actually will get ignored in recruiting,” Burford mentioned. “Being a hometown man and seeing that we’ve a college who had a soccer program that simply acquired began off, I imply, why not? We have now the seventh-largest metropolis within the U.S., so why not? There isn’t any purpose why we should not be a prestigious program.”
As head coach Jeff Traylor took the helm, a brand new tradition was established. Burford remarks that probably the most impactful facet was the emphasis positioned on the gamers.
“He takes into consideration the gamers’ time and the coaches’ time,” Burford mentioned. “He makes all of it in regards to the gamers. I really feel like the blokes actually noticed that and so they actually purchased into the system. Now that you just actually perceive and might break down and talk to speak the tradition, you may reside by it.”
Burford was the primary four-star signee to don the united states uniform. Motivated by his household and dedication others have put into his athletic profession, Burford makes use of his inspiration to develop into an aggressive offensive power.
“The celebrities do not make the participant, the participant makes the celebs,” Burford mentioned. “What motivates me is my household and my mom. All of the laborious work and dedication she’s put in to see me, all of the sacrifices she and my household has made so as to get me thus far the place I’m. I can not say I acquired right here on my own as a result of I did not. It’s all a testomony to them.”
Placing within the work when nobody is wanting is an important facet of Burford’s success. Persevering with to construct upon his abilities and improve his methods on the sector are the constructing blocks for the drive he applies to his sport.
“Everyone’s not with you whilst you’re working,” Burford mentioned. “It takes lots of laborious work and dedication. If you wish to separate your self from the pack, it’s important to do the additional work. There’s lots of hungry guys on the market, so you may by no means develop into complacent and stagnant. It’s at all times the following man up mentality.”
As one of many many native seniors on the roster, Burford makes use of his management to assist his teammates on and off the sector. By his character-driven management, Burford has created an environment of belief together with his teammates.
“I’m not a giant vocal man. I love to do the work behind the scenes,” Burford mentioned. “If any individual wants one thing, I give it to them. Should you want it and I’ve it, I’ll give it to you. If I haven’t got it, I’ll attempt to discover a strategy to get it to you. I really feel like I’m an individual the place individuals really feel snug sufficient to have a gateway the place they’ll simply speak.”
After utilizing his offseason to enhance his abilities at an area exercise facility and with the assistance of former Roadrunners, Burford has seen motion in eight contests this season and is carving out one other All-Convention USA caliber season.
“Quite a lot of method that I had final yr was actually wild and uncontrolled, so I centered on buckling down and preserving these issues beneath management,” Burford mentioned. “I did lots of swim coaching, pace, agility and power coaching. I labored rather a lot with guys from the group who’re on the market working and which can be hungry.”
Enjoying in additional than 40 contests in his profession at UTSA, Burford has seen a variety of outcomes. He has inked his identify into historical past as one of many gamers serving to the group to a 10-Zero file and a nationwide rating.
“The comradery, this group is as shut as I’ve ever seen it,” Burford mentioned. “From one man caring for the following, not letting egos get in the way in which and simply taking it day-by-day, we’re all purchased into the system. Everyone is ecstatic in regards to the assist we’re getting from the scholars, the college and workers, the power and conditioning workers and the coaches, it’s all turning round.”
Throughout his senior marketing campaign to this point, Burford has been invited to play within the East-West Shrine Bowl and NFL Gamers Affiliation Collegiate Bowl, in addition to named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch Checklist, Outland Trophy watch checklist and the Dave Campbell’s Texas Soccer preseason group.
“You need to be affected person,” Burford mentioned. “You can’t rush something or hate on another person. No matter God has for you is coming. I’m very grateful.”
Following his commencement, Burford plans to pursue his soccer profession earlier than using his prison justice diploma as a detective.
“My first plan is to go to the NFL and attempt to play 10 years there,” Burford mentioned. “Once I get out, I’m going to attempt to be a detective. I do not wish to put dangerous individuals in jail, extra to maintain individuals out of jail. I wish to be the beginning of positivity locally and be somebody that folks can belief. Being locally to assist all people and provides again, that’s what I consider in.”