Sapulpa soccer star invited to represent USA in United World Games


We all have dreams. Some of us want to be astronauts or firefighters, or in one young man's case in Sapulpa, a professional soccer player.

Chieftain junior Tanner Johnson is getting a chance to prove he can compete on an international level, and he’s the only Oklahoman on a team representing the United States in the United World Games.

From the first moment he picked up a ball, Johnson knew playing soccer would be his passion.

“It's everything,” Johnson said of the game. “Just always going out there and it's always been a part of my life.”

His high school coach, Kip Shubert, has seen something special in Johnson. “Tanner has a lot of natural ability,” he said of his junior captain. “But he's got a lot of leadership and character and instincts in him that allows him to do that. He's just very calm and composed under pressure.”

“I just try to get better,” Johnson said. “Do the best that I can during practice and in games.”

Now, Johnson is getting attention around the world. “A little bit before December, I think,” he says of when he got the invitation to represent his country. “And I got a text message,” but he didn't quite believe it.

“I thought it was fake at first,” Johnson said. “So, I just ignored it for a little bit. I got home and I did a little bit of research over it, and then asked my parents and they did some research and it looked legit. And we found somebody in Owasso that had been in it, and they said it was good. “

The game has brought him so much already.

“Find out where everyone's from, introduce each other,” those are his plans in New York when he meets his teammates. “Because it will be the first time we meet each other when we go from New York to Germany.”

But soon it will bring him more.

“I was just surprised that they found me in Sapulpa, Oklahoma,” Johnson said.

Johnson's family will have to pay his way to get there, and it's not cheap. They're looking at a $4,500 cost to let their son live out a dream.

You can find the family’s fundraising page by clicking this link.

The United World Games run June 21st-24th.

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