Joel Thompkins is one of the best players from the Chicago, Illinois area in the Class of 2020.
The 5-foot-9, 133-pound Thompkins, who attends Culver Academies, is a dynamic player that works as an outside and center midfielder.
Thompkins, who plays for the Indiana Elite FC, has earned plenty of recognition during his outstanding youth career, such as receiving the Playmaker Award and All-Academic Player of The Year for CMA soccer.
Thompkins is humbled by the accolades.
“As a young player, I always dreamed of being able to play at this level and potentially higher. These accolades remind me of the effort and dedication it took to get me here. I am truly grateful for the astounding teammates, coaches, friends, and family that have helped me along the way,” Thompkins said. “It truly was a blessing. These types of opportunities occur very rarely for many players, and that I am fortunate enough to not only be able to play but to play with my best friends. The feeling of participating in most of these events with your friends that you have grown up with is like nothing else.”
No matter the opponent, every match Thompkins is determined to give it his all.
Thompkins is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever Thompkins steps between the lines.
“As an outside midfielder, I am given generally three opportunities when receiving the ball: take the defender on and cross/lay off the ball to a teammate, take the defender on towards the goal and shoot, or dishing the ball off to reset the play and start up a new build up,” Thompkins said. “My mindset as a midfielder is to create opportunities for my teammates and serve as supportive role for the team”
Thompkins has great passion and energy whenever he’s on the field.Thompkins tells why he enjoys the game of soccer so much.
“I love everything about playing soccer: the individual talent it takes as a player, the competitiveness, and just simply the feeling of the ball at your feet. It is just an indescribable feeling when playing, like your heart just races and makes you happy instantly,” Thompkins said. “No matter what mood or how I feel that day, it’s like when I am playing it all goes away and it allows me to be insanely happy.”
Thompkins has learned many valuable lessons from playing soccer that he applies to his everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“I have learned that determination and passion is needed to succeed,” Thompkins said. “Soccer has taught me numerous things about life including the value of hard work and dedication.”
Thompkins recalls his favorite soccer memory.
“In reality, there are a lot of memories of playing with my teammates, however there is one in particular that stands out. It would be the time we won our first state cup. I remember it was pouring rain for a good portion of the match and we had struggled in previous years and were now coming together as a team. My teammate took on a defender and delivered a perfect pass to me at the top of the box. This allowed me to slip the ball pass the keeper. I will never forget the feeling of the ball going into the back of the net. It made me feel as if I was running clouds,” Thompkins said. “To play with such supportive and amazing players is something that is unforgettable to me. Not only do the players make each and every game amazing, but the wonderful coaches, especially Coach Novi, that have shaped me to be the player that I am today. No matter where I play, my Indiana Elite games will always be apart of me and hold a special place in my memory.
Novi Marojevic has been Thompkins’ coach for the Indiana Elite for the last eight years.
Marojevic explains the best parts of Thompkins’ game.
“His biggest advantage is his technical abilities. He’s a very confident player on the ball under pressure,” Marojevic said. “He will always find a right way to make a right decision, which is the most crucial for most of the players his age group.”
Thompkins takes his role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Thompkins makes sure he’s a daily positive influence on his peers.
“Being a good teammate does not just mean skill and talent, but it means how you present yourself on and off the field. If someone on the team is struggling or not having the best of games, I try to pick them up and tell them that it is okay and to keep pushing on. Our team has been through a lot together, we truly support each other through the ups and downs,” Thompkins said. “My teammates and I have learned a lot from each other. I hope they have learned as much from me as I have from them. It is my belief that teamwork is the key to success.”
Marojevic adds that Thompkins is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“Joel is truly leader on the field and off the field,” Marojevic said. “He is the most positive player that I ever worked with. He knows exactly how to motivate other players on the field to give their best in the game.”
Thompkins is appreciative of having amazing male role models that are supportive.
“I have learned from the coaches throughout my career that releasing the ball sooner will make the game much easier for myself and team. Novi has taught me this through the years and it has drastically improved my game as a soccer player. The respect Novi has for each and every one of the kids he has coached throughout the years has taught me that respect means everything and that as long as you treat each person as family, they will do the same for you,” Thompkins said. “The best advice I have received was to play our team’s style. When we attempted to play a style of game different from our own, we were not successful.”
Marojevic is an advocate of Thompkins’ capabilities.
“Joel is a player who can take game to the next level,” Marojevic said. “He can make some amazing plays on the field.”
In addition to making clutch plays, Thompkins also has a high level of soccer IQ as well.
Thompkins has excellent awareness that puts him in position to thrive.
“Joel is a very intelligent player,” Marojevic said. “He has amazing soccer IQ,so that means he can dominate the game.”
Thompkins is on the grind to perfect and hone his craft in any way possible.
“He is born with great work ethic. He always puts 100 percent effort during practice or game time,” Marojevic said. “He really loves the game and when he steps on the field, you can tell how much the game means to him. He has an amazing desire for the game.”
Marojevic explains why he compares Thompkins to these players.
“If I had to compare him with anybody on the pro level it would be Pedro and William,” Marojevic said.
Thompkins greatly admires this standout.
“As a midfielder, I would have to say my favorite player and someone who I look up to the most has to be Ronaldinho,” Thompkins said. “His love for the game is obvious and he is smooth with the ball at his feet. I have always idolized him for his playing ability and his love for the game.”
Thompkins is constantly striving for greatness in everything that he does.
“My goals as a player on and off the field is to be a complete and well-rounded student-athlete and person,” Thompkins said. “I want to further my education and take my soccer career to the highest level possible.
Thompkins lists math as his favorite subject in school.
“I appreciate precision and accuracy,” Thompkins said.
Marojevic believes Thompkins is determined take his his game to the next level.
“His biggest weakness is his size,” Marojevic said. “However, I believe he will continue to get stronger.”
Marojevic believes the sky is the limit as long as Thompkins continues to stay hungry.
“He has all abilities to play high level of soccer with all the tools that he has as a player,” Marojevic said. “He definitely has abilities to play Division I soccer.”
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