Hi, I’m Nicholas, your monthly Epic Kids columnist. I’m a third-grade CEO. Our family friend happens to be a former pro soccer player. I got the chance to interview him about his career and the World Cup happening this year.

Mike Enfield started playing professional soccer when he was 22-years old. “All I wished to do as a kid was reach my goal of playing professional soccer,” says Mike.

Mike played for MLS on the LA Galaxy and the Sydney Football Club in the Australian A-League.

“My favorite memory was when I was drafted––a dream come true. It was also winning the MLS Cup with my team,” he says.

Mike’s pro career ended after he hurt his knee and got seven surgeries. But soccer is still a big part of his life and a forever love. He coaches his kids’ soccer teams and gets pumped every four years when the World Cup rolls around.

The World Cup is the biggest soccer tournament. Mike says countries all over the globe go through a tough qualifying process and the top 32 countries gather in one place and play each other. However, Mike says this is the last year 32 teams will compete because the World Cup is expanding to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

This year, however, it’s in Qatar located in the Middle East.

Mike says the 32 teams competing in the 2022 World Cup are broken into eight groups of four. The top two teams in each group advance to the round of 16 and then it’s elimination time.

Mike says great players to watch are Messi (Argentina) and Benzema (France). But of course, Mike is rooting for team USA even though he doesn’t expect the young and talented team to win. His prediction: Brazil will take the Cup.

“I went to the World Cup final game in 1994, Brazil vs Italy. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” says Mike.

Nicholas Bubeck is a monthly Epic Kids columnist and CEO of creationsbynicholas.com