Aside from the collection of neon cleats by the front door, when you first walk into the Anton household, you are greeted with an eye-catching display of trophies stacked to the side of the room. Intrigued, you might approach these massive golden cups and realize they carry a similar theme—soccer. Yet who do these towering trophies belong to?
16-year-old Anuram Anton received these rewards—he is a youth whose life is intensely devoted to the classic and well-loved sport. In fact, his dedication to soccer eventually set his course to Europe; scouts handpicked him from his club team and are flying him to Sweden, allowing Anuram to represent Canada in the Gothia Youth World Cup later this week.
Born and raised within the Weston community, Anuram attended H.J. Alexander for elementary school and moved onto Pierre LaPorte during his middle-school years. Currently attending Weston Collegiate Institute, his jawline isn’t the only the thing the students find memorable—stories of his talents are echoed through the student body.
“Everyone knows Anuram, because he’s so unique. Whenever someone talks about him, it’s in the same context as his soccer skills,” one Weston student says.
Behind the fame lies his support and the kick start to his soccer career: his father.
“I started playing soccer because it pretty much ran through my family,” Anuram explains with a grin, “My dad used to play soccer in Sri Lanka—not professionally of course; he’d play with no shoes and some next level balls. Since he wasn’t rich enough to play soccer, he wanted me to live the dream.”
At the age of four, Mr. Anton signed Anuram into a small, local soccer team named St. Anthony’s. His debut game as a St. Anthony striker, aptly recorded by Mr. Anton himself, remains a true soccer gem and a comical reminder to the beginning of his career. The video features a miniature Anuram stumbling after the ball through a crowd of equally-sized leprechauns in jerseys and cleats (and the cuteness is also conveniently posted on YouTube).
With a laugh, Anuram recalls this game and admits to his unlikely introduction. “At first I didn’t want to play. I didn’t like playing anything, but my dad said, ‘At least try playing as goalie.’ They scored at least five goals on me. That’s when they put me on as striker … [then] after a year I got better and from the age of five to twelve, I was the captain of that team.”
From then on, his passion grew immensely as he continued to practice and play. Anuram currently plays for Glen Shields FC and the Scarborough Elites, the team of scouted players Sweden-bound for the Youth World Cup. He was even offered a position on another team to play in Germany the following year, but had to decline due to the trip’s expenses.
Over the many years playing for different schools and club teams, Anuram has accumulated an extensive record of over 200 goals, 200 assists, 11 hat tricks and over 700 games—and the number is still increasing.
How does he find balance between his endless soccer games and practices? The answer:
“I don’t,” he laughs.
During the busiest time in his tenth grade school year, a typical schedule consisted of heavy Monday evening practices with both the club and Youth World Cup team, game-filled Tuesdays and alternating practices for the rest of the week. Fridays were occupied with math tutoring of course —good grades are mandated for a spot on the Weston team, and in order to continue in the IB program.
Helping to get him through the arduous study periods and often-sleepless nights (I’d message him on Facebook at ungodly hours and get a response), Anuram looks to Ronaldinho of the Brazilian team as his hero.
“When he plays soccer, he always has a smile on his face and he’s loved by everyone in the world,” Anuram explains and proceeds to whip out his phone to show me a video of Ronaldinho’s highlights laced with an upbeat soundtrack. Goal after goal, Ronaldinho drives the ball into the net – they almost look like seamless replays.
“Those are Real Madrid fans clapping for him,” Anuram narrates as he points to the screen, “They’re losing three to nothing but they’re still clapping for him because he’s so good. That’s why he’s my favorite —he has respect from everyone in the world.”
Aspirations to become the next Ronaldinho? Maybe. But for now, the young man aims to finish homework on time and play soccer for as long as he can before attempting to get a spot in his coveted European soccer clubs.
“There’s not too much of a future for soccer in Canada,” he says, “but I don’t want to play for another country in particular. I just want to move to England and play for a club there.”
As the height of the FIFA World Cup approaches, I ask Anuram who he thinks would win the World Cup. I can sense his disheartened vibes creep over—the blow to Brazil had left him wounded.
“To be honest, I hope Argentina wins.”
Thus, next time you pass through the local Weston Lions field or find yourself on Pine Street near Weston Collegiate Institute, keep an eye out for the boy with a ridiculously impressive jawline, weaving the ball through his dancing, neon cleats.
This post is brought to you by:
Maureen Lennon, who is happy to encourage great writing by young Westonians!