Nor'easters Goalkeeper talks about his time with APOEL FC
Jet-setting keeper’s incredible path to the pros began in Spain with pit-stops in Alaska, Ocean City, and now APOEL FC in Cyprus
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
|Angoitia spent 14 days on trial with APOEL FC|
Ocean City, NJ – Add goalie Borja Angoitia’s name to the growing list of Nor’easters alumni seizing the opportunity to take their career to the professional level.
In a recent interview with the Club, Borja touched upon the excitement, pride, and heightened focus that he experienced during his 14-day trial with APOEL FC recently.
APOEL FC is the winningest soccer club in Cyprus’ history. In its greatest accomplishment in recent years, the team reached the quarter-finals of the 2011-2012 UEFA Champions League tournament, the most prestigious tournament in European club soccer, and competed among the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC. APOEL’s most notable victory of the campaign was a 4-3 aggregate conquest of the elite French side Olympique Lyonnais in the Round of 16. APOEL have also competed in the group stages of the 2009-10 and 2014-15 UEFA Champions League tournaments, as well as the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League.
|Angoitia had the opportunity to study under Urko Pardo|
“When I first found out [that I had earned a trial with APOEL] I could not believe it. I was going to train with a team that plays in the Champions League!” Angoitia could barely hide his elation at the opportunity to showcase his skills among the top professional talent in the World. The opportunity of a lifetime.
“I approached every training session as an opportunity to show what I had worked so hard for in my life,” the 22-year-old said. Displaying a focus beyond his years, Angoitia explained his approach to the workouts, “I put no pressure on myself, and I told myself I had to enjoy every bit of it, because in the end, these opportunities do not come around often, and you would never want to leave with regrets.”
|APOEL FC logo|
The keeper was more than just a wide-eyed, fresh face content with going through the motions. He traveled to Cyprus with a distinct set of goals in mind and did everything in his power to make an impact. “I knew…that I just had to be me, and do what I had done until the day I got there and hopefully, that would be good enough for them.”
No stranger to language barriers, he quickly associated with one of the clubs’ keepers, including Spanish compatriot, Urko Pardo and became a sponge, soaking up everything he could and picking the brains of APOEL’s “Champions League goalkeepers that have played at the Bernabeu and Camp Nou. [The APOEL keepers] know as much goalkeeping as you can know, so I used that to my advantage and learned as much as I could. The entire trial was a learning process for me.”
|Angoitia trained next to the likes of Nuno Morais, Constantinos Charalambides & John Arne Riise|
On how his career as a Nor’easter prepared him for recent professional trials, Borja cited the competitive atmosphere of an Ocean City Club that encourages competition among teammates vying to crack the starting XI. “I shared [the Nor’easters] locker room with the top players in the country. Training everyday was a test for me. I learned to be competitive, to fight for everything, and that when you go to a prestigious PDL club like Ocean City, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what you have done.”
|Borja is barely recognizeable without his trademark beard|
Sharing more insight on what it means to represent the Nor’easters on and off the pitch, Borja explained, “in my opinion, [Ocean City] is as close as it gets to a professional club, and that’s why the transition to training with a pro club wasn’t as difficult for me.”
Borja spent 10 months in Alaska as a 16-year-old, “to learn English and see a new side of the world. I played soccer there, as a forward, which I believe helped me a lot with my ability to play with the ball at my feet today.”
Angoitia returned to Spain after his time in Alaska until college, where he was a four-year starter for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, earning back-to-back MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year awards in 2013 and 2014, and tied for the Nor’easters team lead in shutouts last summer.