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Cowell wins National title in San Jose
Ceres Cade Cowell and the Futsal Without Borders under-14 boys team placed first at the U.S. Futsal National Championship in San Jose this past month. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Asked where his latest accomplishment ranked, multi-sport standout Cade Cowell provided a humble response.

"It's kind of important, I guess," said Cowell, who lives in Ceres and goes to school at Cesar Chavez Jr. High.

Cade helped lead the Futsal Without Borders (FWB) under-14 boys team to a first-place finish at the 32nd U.S. Futsal National Championship last month in San Jose.

Futsal is a fast-paced game of five-on-five soccer. Games are played on a basketball-style court indoors with no walls and a smaller ball. The sport is sanctioned by FIFA, the international soccer governing board.

"You have no space to dribble," Cowell said. "You have to be constantly moving. You don't have a certain position. It was hard at first. It was a lot different than outdoor. Once you get the hang of it, it's fun."

FWB compiled a 5-0 record at the 12-team tournament, staged July 13-16, at the San Jose Convention Center.

Futsal Without Borders stormed out to a 3-0 lead and rallied for an 8-4 win over Liverpool in the finals on July 16.

"I didn't feel any pressure at all," said Cowell, who had one assist during the championship game. "In the morning, we played against harder teams. I thought we were going to win it all after we played our first game the first day. We did really well."

Cade also suited up for the San Jose-based Futsal Without Borders U15 and U16 teams at the 2017 U.S. Futsal National Championship.

He played a total of 11 games in three days.

The U16 squad lost 5-4 to the Richmond Sol Cobras in the championship game.

The U15 squad suffered a 3-2 loss while battling Alexandria Red (Virginia) in the semifinals.

"That was my second time playing futsal," Cowell said. "The most enjoyable part was playing against the hard teams and beating them."

Cowell played soccer for the first time at the age of five as a member of the Ceres Youth Soccer Organization.

He spent just one season in the recreational league before joining the ultra-competitive ranks.

He's played for several travel teams, including the Modesto Ajax, Ceres Earthquakes and Ballistic United Academy of Pleasanton.

Cade won under-9 and under-10 State Cup titles with the Earthquakes.

He represented California-North at the 2016 Olympic Development Program Region-IV Championships in Arizona.

Cowell, a team captain and attacking midfielder, collected two goals and six assists while leading his under-13 squad to a second-place finish (3-1).

Cade started training with his U15 outdoor club team, Ballistic United, last week.

He travels to Pleasanton on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for practice sessions.

Cowell also dedicates time to weight training on Mondays and Fridays at Bonsu Elite Athletics in Ceres.

He's added 20 pounds to his 5-foot-9 frame since December.

He currently weighs 150 pounds.

"It's really challenging," Cade said while talking about his busy schedule. "It (soccer) always came easy to me until last year. I've been working really hard to get better. I need to improve my footwork and shooting with my left foot."

Cowell made a name for himself as a member Cesar Chavez Jr. High's track and field team this past spring.

He took home three gold medals from the 70th Annual Stanislaus County Harold Pope Junior Relays on May 6 at Modesto Junior College.

Cade placed first in the 70 hurdles (10.94), high jump (4-10) and long jump (15-7).

Cowell's parents were both standout athletes at Ceres High School.

Debin earned seven varsity letters, including four in baseball and three in football.

He played receiver at San Jose State for one season.

Amber earned six varsity letters, including four in softball and two in basketball.

"Obviously, he has his own goals," Debin said. "He's pretty driven. We just try to push him in the right direction, make sure he gets good grades and trains as much as he needs to. We're his cheerleaders."

"I hope I can go to a Division-I college and go to Major League Soccer after that," Cade added. "I want to be the first person in my family to make it big."

Cowell managed to maintain a perfect 4.0 grade-point average as a seventh-grader despite traveling out of state five times for soccer.

"He worked really hard," Debin said. "We're proud of him."