Waterbury high schooler is Hartford Athletic’s youngest player

Waterbury high schooler is Hartford Athletic's youngest player
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 7:54 PM EDT
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(WFSB) – Hartford Athletic’s youngest player is only 17 years old and still goes to Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.

Eyewitness News sat down with him to talk about his incredible launch into the world of professional sports.

It makes sense why scoring a point in soccer is called a goal.

You train for it and chase after it in a game where it’s notoriously hard to rack up numbers on the scoreboard.

But if you’ve got the skill, the net doesn’t care if you have a high school diploma yet.

“Ever since I started playing soccer it was always how do I be a professional,” said Dren Dobruna.

That’s a goal 17-year-old Dren has already scored.

The teen is the youngest player on the Hartford Athletic soccer team.

He juggles class at 7:30 in the morning.

“I wake up to go to school first block and half of second block and then I leave directly from school,” Dren said.

Then dribbles through practice by 11.

“Then go back to school and finish the day which ends around 1:45 – 2,” said Dren.

Dren started playing at 3 years old, quickly moving up to bigger and bigger teams against opponents who out-sized him pretty much every step of the way.

“I started playing on a travel team around like 7 to 8 and from there I always played against kids that were 12 or 13,” he said.

Dren stood out to a family friend who was also a professional soccer coach.

Dren started training with him daily.

“I think at 12 you kind of knew that he had something there because technically he was just unbelievable with the ball,” said Kledis Capollari, U19 Academy Coach for Hartford Athletic.

“The fact that he can not only play at this level but excel at this level is really something special,” said Conor McGlynn, Hartford Athletic player. “He has basically limitless potential at least in my eyes.”

As for where that potential will take him, that all depends on where Dren chooses to aim.

“I am on the team on academy contract, So I still have my eligibility for college,” Dren said.

“Hopefully it’s MLS and Europe in a couple years,” said Capollari.

It’s a game that leaves itself wide open for players of nearly all ages.

“It doesn’t really matter in the sport like you see 16-year-olds on the world stage like balling out,” Dren said.

Only once-in-a-lifetime talent and drive can take the shot and make it.

“Once you’re on the field you’re like a peer you’re on that same level,” said Dren.