Even though San Diego Jewish Academy sophomore sensation Sean Callahan, plays two varsity sports - soccer and baseball, his favorite involves his feet.
“I enjoy playing soccer more,” said Callahan. “Soccer is a creative sport, with passes and a combination of different moves. In baseball, you field, throw out runners, and swing the bat.”
Callahan started playing soccer at the age of 4. It all started at the Mission Valley YMCA. Said Callahan, “The soccer coach Manny Gonzalez was the biggest influence on me. His ball handling skills were great. I was determined to copy and master his skills.”
As a varsity freshman on the Lions in 2006, Callahan scored eight goals and was named to the All-Citrus League team. Last season, he was team captain, and as a sophomore scored 28 goals with 10 assists in 19 games. The total was second in San Diego County and in the Top 15 in California according to MaxPreps. Callahan was named Citrus League Player of the Year and named Union-Tribune Athlete of the Week (Dec. 12, 2007).
Callahan’s Club and Travel team is Albion Boys U16, coached by Brian Bates, who is a former MLS player and member of two NCAA Championship teams at the University of Virginia.
“Sean has what you can’t teach,” said Noah Gins, Albion Soccer Club director of coaching. Last summer, Albion 16U won the U.S. Club Soccer regionals against Paris St. Germaine in Boise, Idaho and then played in the U.S. Club Soccer finals in Greensboro, North Carolina. This summer, Callahan’s team will compete in the prestigious Surf Cup tournament at the Del Mar Polo Fields.
“My role model outside sports is my dad (Bill),” said Callahan. “His dad wasn’t always there for him. My dad is always there for me. He is at every soccer and baseball game.”
“In the past 10 years, I’ve missed only three of Sean’s soccer matches,” said proud dad Bill Callahan, “due to work related things. I am also the team manager of the Albion 16U.”
Sean Callahan says his role model in soccer is England’s Chelsea player Joe Cole. “He also plays mid-fielder like me,” he said. “He is also small and I play like him.”
This summer, besides participating in the Del Mar Surf Cup, Callahan will be attending a few soccer camps at the University of California Berkeley, UC Davis, and either UCLA or USF (San Francisco).
“In the future, academics and soccer wise I would prefer a west coast school,” he said. “I prefer the California style of soccer. They incorporate more skills instead of the grind it out soccer. It is influenced by the play of Brazil, South and Latin American countries.” In the summer of 2006, Sean trained in Brazil during the 2006 World Cup.
Callahan’s closest friend is sophomore strikeout king Michael Fagan.
“We were in the same kindergarten class,” said Callahan, “also at the Y. We became really good friends even though I stayed at one school and Michael came to SDJA in the sixth grade. I followed him to the Academy in the seventh grade. We always kid each other about if we changed sports. Michael claims if he stayed with soccer, he would be better than me. And if I devoted the time I’ve put into soccer in baseball, I would be better than him.”
Callahan’s most memorable soccer match last season was against another Jewish high school in Orange County.
“It was like Boston College against Notre Dame,” said dad Bill Callahan. The game ended in a 6-6 tie, with Sean scoring 4 goals.
Callahan says his most memorable baseball game was against neighboring Canyon Crest.
“We beat them 3-2, and I got the winning RBI in the fifth inning,” he said.
Callahan’s baseball stats were not to shabby, earning Second Team Citrus League, having a .44 on-base percentage, a .286 batting average, 19 runs scored and 11 RBI. He also stole 13 out of 14 bases. He had an outstanding fielding percentage as a starting second baseman at .954, committing only three errors in 22 games.
Callahan’s favorite food is pizza, and enjoys soccer on TV, and rap music. His favorite subject in school is history and he finished up with a GPA of 3.75. He said he is rooting for the Netherlands in the ongoing Euro 2008 Soccer Championships. Sporting a Netherlands T-shirt, he said, “I like their style of play. My goal for next year soccer-wise at the Academy is to get into the playoffs, and hopefully repeat as Player of the Year. Most of our team was freshmen and sophomores, so we will have more experience. Also, I would like to get bigger and faster.”
Even though Sean Callahan is a two-sport player, down the road, he says he will only focus on soccer.