The Ecuadorian Superman

The West Ham attack is quickly unfolding down the left side of the pitch. Two sharp passes and Enner Valencia collects the ball before turning and cutting toward the middle of the Hull City defense. He pauses 30 yards out from goal; everything stops. In the blink of an eye, he takes a touch on his right foot, blasts the ball, and smashes it off the crossbar and in. Everyone is left in awe. The Ecuadorian is not like most footballers, which is what makes him my AthleteCRUSH.

One may think the goal scored below was just a fluke. He could have just been lucky. Yet as his nickname, “Superman,” suggests, he’s been doing this for a while. His strike against Hull City in 2014 showcases what he can contribute to West Ham United, but he is more than just a spectacular goal scorer. His physical Uniqueness is just as amazing as his skill. With the power put into his shots, fans would expect a physical specimen with horse-like legs. Tipping the scales at 160 pounds, Valencia is hardly robust, yet he is deceivingly strong for his size. He bodies off defenders who are often taller and weigh more.

His physical ability is also complemented by his great pace. Once he is in a footrace, there are not many players who can keep up. Taking his physical makeup into account, it really makes his outrageous rocket of a shot even more impressive. Other footballers struggle to shoot the ball that fast and accurately, even with a proper run-up. His ability to generate such force and precision in two steps and with hardly any momentum is truly unbelievable.

Valencia also produces attention outside the pitch. In 2015, a year after arriving in west London, Valencia earned the award for Sports Personality of the Year at the Latin UK Awards (LUKAS). In doing so, he beat out Alexis Sanchez, who is one of the best and most admired players in the world. It is safe to say that Valencia has quickly won the praise of many for both his playing style and friendly disposition. It wasn’t always fun and games, though. A difficult upbringing in his hometown of San Lorenzo meant he had to milk cows with his father at a young age if he was going to be able to afford a pair of cleats.

With the vision of becoming a footballing star firmly implanted in his mind, he set out to work in the Ecuadorian countryside and began on the road toward realizing his dream. His background has ultimately made him a humble, happy, and thankful person. With one look at his Instagram page, one can see just that.

After all the hard work he has put in, Valencia has finally started to gain the recognition he deserves. His uniqueness and wonder strikes have garnered the attention of fans all over the world and helped him realize his dream of playing top level soccer. This year Ecuador play in the Copa America Centenario, where Valencia will be counted on as a key player. Pay attention and don’t blink, or you could miss another thunderbolt.


(Click here to read about Carlos Moros Garcia college career at Temple University:

Follow Enner Valencia on Instagram @ennervalencia1 and Twitter @EnnerValencia14

Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff

Posted 9 June 2016