Just five minutes into Columbus Crew SC’s scrimmage with the Seattle Sounders on Feb. 4, Canton, Ohio native Colin Biros received a cross and put the ball into the net. That doesn’t happen often for a high school senior.
“I was overcome with joy,” Biros said. “As you could probably see, with my celebration. It was a sigh of relief, almost. I knew that I can do it, it is possible, I am good enough to play at that level now or in the future. It was a realization for me that it is possible, and I came to it.”
Biros, who was recently named in Akron’s 2018 recruiting class, has been a member of the Crew SC academy for the past three years. He was among a small group of academy players that were invited to join the Black & Gold first team for preseason training in January.
The Jackson High School senior was unable to stop saying thank you to Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter when he called to invite Biros to accompany the team on its preseason trip to Arizona. The most surreal aspect for Biros was being able to watch and play with midfielder Justin Meram, his longtime role model.
“It’s just learning from him, seeing what he’s doing, what I can apply to my game and he was really helpful too,” Biros said. “He was talking to me, giving me advice, giving me tips. It was pretty cool.”
The decision to join the Crew SC academy as a high school freshman may have been easy for Biros, but what followed was not. On top of attempting to learn a difficult, comprehensive pro-style system, Biros driving two hours each way to train and play in Columbus, sometimes five nights a week.
Colin and his family braved the difficulties and made it work. They all made sacrifices. His father, Michael, a longtime soccer coach and player gave up the chance to have his son on his Jackson High team. Colin’s brother gave him his car as he left for college, so he could drive himself back and forth to Columbus. Three years later, the family sees the fruits of their labor.
“It certainly cements, if there was any doubt, the decision to send him down to Columbus every day for training and playing over playing high school ball,” Michael Biros said. “Obviously, those experiences are irreplaceable in his development and just the overall life experience.”
Despite the reflective parent cliché, Colin really did have a soccer ball at his feel from the time he could walk. The Biros house is littered with soccer pictures of both brothers at a young age. On top of supporting Colin at the academy, Michael was also in the process of building up a local youth soccer program in Canton to a state level.
“Obviously it was a passion of mine and it’s kind of nice that they had the same passion,” Michael Biros said. “Not that we wouldn’t have moved in a direction if it wasn’t soccer. Especially for Colin’s sake, he really jumped in the deep end at a really young age and you could tell at a really young age he was doing things that normal kids that were much older than him just weren’t doing yet.”
Colin’s next endeavor is making a name for himself at the NCAA powerhouse that is Akron soccer. He’s known Akron head coach Jared Embick and most of the staff since he was in middle school. There may not have been a better fit for Colin’s style than Akron. The Zips play an MLS-friendly system, which Biros has always been partial to.
“For him to get that experience in and around a professional club is very helpful,” Embick said. “For us to continue to be close enough for us to see him this whole time is just better. We know when we watch those games that that level kind of translates easier to our level.”
Embick anticipates that Biros will play a lot of minutes during his first year with the Zips. What the head coach isn’t sure of is how long he’ll have the chance to coach the attacker. His recent level and success with Crew SC has sparked speculation of a move to the professional game.
“Every time I see him he seems to have gotten better and he continues to channel that competitiveness in a positive way,” Embick said. “There’s a good chance we won’t have him all four years. But, to me, that’s a positive.”
Biros has already left quite a legacy behind in Stark County, quietly making his case to be called the county’s greatest soccer player ever.