“It’s official, y’all. I’m a San Antonio Scorpion,” said senior and midfielder Johnny Lawson on his Instagram account after signing his first professional soccer contract.
Lawson, who was a proud member of the Trinity soccer team, was offered the opportunity to be on trial with the Scorpions during their preseason starting late January, early February but was ultimately cut after the first week.
“The team tried signing three guys, but only one guy signed out of everybody,” Lawson said. “So then, about two weeks later, I got a call back from the goalkeepers’ coach Juan Lamadrid asking if I can come back to train.”
It didn’t take much convincing to get Lawson back on to the Scorpions’ practice field, as he understood it was not only a rare opportunity but a difficult one to muster.
“They finally offered me my contract three weeks ago, almost a month now, after three months of training,” Lawson said.
According to the midfielder, he wasn’t too surprised that he eventually got signed. Rather, Lawson wanted it to have happened earlier.
“I wasn’t surprised but more relieved,” Lawson said.
Yet Lawson’s official signing day was both exciting and, as described by the former Trinity soccer star, a little anti-climactic.
“Signing your first professional contract, you think you’re going to go into a little media center with the Scorpions emblems all behind you, you’ll sign your contract, take a picture, talk to the media if there were any there, but it wasn’t like that,” Lawson said. “My contract was just there on his desk with a bunch of papers everywhere.”
Though the signing wasn’t as glamorous as initially envisioned, the relief of signing continues to set in.
Lawson described his work schedule starting at 8 a.m., getting to the practice field by 9 a.m., finishing practice by 11 a.m. and enjoying every minute of it.
“I wake up every morning knowing I’m just going to play soccer every day from 9 to 11, get home by 12 and that’s my job,” Lawson said.
Not only did Lawson achieve his goal of being a professional soccer player, he is playing alongside some big names and inspirational soccer players, one being Eric Hassli.
The 34-year old forward from France played in the Major League Soccer for multiple years before joining the Scorpions, offering Lawson much to look up to.
“If there is anyone I look up to, it would probably be Eric,” Lawson said. “He’s a jokester, always yelling, always having fun. He always has a good attitude in training.”
Though Hassli has had limited amount of minutes and no goals this season over current forward starter Omar Cummings, Lawson has learned a valuable lesson from the 15-year veteran.
“Omar Cummings has been playing strength and been in good form, but that’s kind of how it is when you’re a professional,” Lawson said. “When one guy is having a really good season, and even though you’re just as good as him, you haven’t had your opportunities because he’s getting his opportunities.”
When it comes to playing alongside his well-established teammates, Lawson feels he is one step behind, but that may not be a bad thing at this point.
“I feel like maybe I’m a step behind them, but at the same time, these guys are 30 years old,” Lawson said. “If I do it for 10 more years, I’m definitely going to be where they are.”
And that’s exactly what Lawson has set in his future goals.
“Hopefully in 3-4 years, I’ll be a pretty established player in the league and be pretty well known, move to the MLS or something like that,” said Lawson. “My highest goal is to go play in Europe. Just another dream to accomplish, but we’ll see what happens.”
Though his future seems very bright as he delves into the professional world of soccer, Lawson stays humble in remembering where his passion for the game started.
“My parents have a lot to do with what I was able to do in soccer,” Lawson said. “Whenever I go out on the field or go out and train, I’m always playing to make my family proud and represent my city the best I can on and off the field.”
It’s not only his family and city he wants to represent; Lawson’s also proud of the Trinity community.
“I want to represent Trinity as best as I can and say I played at Trinity University, and I’m here now, just so the guys here can say, ‘This guy was here in this locker room and now he is playing in the highest level, so we can too.,” Lawson said.
In regards to advice Lawson would like to give current and future Trinity soccer players that wish to follow in his footsteps, it is to develop good habits.
“If you develop good habits early on, it’s going to carry over when you’re a senior,” Lawson said. “Eat right, always get your workout in between classes, get your homework done, but you also have to make things happen and take advantage of your opportunities. Nothing is going to fall in your lap.”
The Scorpions will be taking on Ottawa Fury FC Saturday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Toyota Field.