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Former Roseville soccer star Bates makes a pit stop at home

He's honing his skills with Sacramento Gold while weighing future
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Whether it’s in the world of business or soccer, Mykell Bates has a bright future.

Like teen singers and mathematicians, soccer players come to prominence early in age, and Bates was no different.

As a freshman at Roseville High School in 2005, Bates led the team in assists, was second in goals and earned a first-team all-league honor.

“Before you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, you’ve just got to have fun,” Bates said. “That (Roseville) experience has taught me that you’ve just got to have fun with something that you love and the people that you love. I enjoyed the guys that were on my team then, and I enjoyed the sport.”

Bates was selected to play for the U-17 national team and received an invitation to attend the Edison Academic Center in Bradenton, Fla.

“Edison was a better opportunity for me,” Bates said. “I was fortunate enough for the youth national team to give me an invite. It was a great opportunity: See the world and play soccer with the best competition and the best players out there.”

Bates was captain of the U-17 team that advanced to the round of 16 before losing to powerhouse Germany in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Following a four-year stint at Santa Clara University, Bates finds himself with the Sacramento Gold of the National Premier Soccer League, staying in shape for a possible professional career.

“I’m out here while I’m searching for a permanent team,” Bates said. “I was invited out here. It’s good competition. It was a great way for me to stay in shape, hone … my skills and play with some great players.”

Bates recently attended a pro tryout but felt the team wasn’t a good fit. Gold coach Ruben Mora feels Bates, 22, has what it takes to make a pro squad.

“Mykell has a lot of experience,” Mora said. “He knows the game, he’s got leadership, he’s explosive; he’s a very good player. He definitely brings all of it to the table. We’re excited any time we can get him. There’s no doubt that he can become a professional player in the near future.”

Despite pro offers and attention from scouts, Bates has Plan B lined up. A marketing major, he hopes to one day run an athletic training facility.

“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always said that I’ve wanted to own my own business,” Bates said. “An athletic training facility is right down my alley. Two things that I love: staying active and staying in shape.”

The goal of a pro contract remains on his mind, but Bates is serious about entering the business world and using his athletic experience to succeed.

“In the meantime, it’s still about soccer,” Bates said. “I definitely want to play soccer for as long as I can.”

Opportunity is alive and well for Bates. It’s a matter of when the best opportunity comes around.

“A lot of times, it’s just luck and timing,” Mora said. “More than anything, in a lot of professional sports, it’s timing and opportunity. He just needs to stay sharp, and it’s only a matter of time before something works out for him.”

SACRAMENTO GOLD

Next game: 7 p.m. Sunday vs. Real San Jose at River City High School, West Sacramento.

Tickets: $5 general admission, free for children under 6. Parking is free.

Information: www.sacramentogoldfc.org