CHS Graduate Shares His Passion For Soccer In Spain

CHS Graduate Shares His Passion For Soccer In Spain

For Miguel Rodriguez Lapman, soccer is more than a game; it is a way of life. In growing up in Spain and Connecticut, he has honed his skills on the field and made countless friends off of it.

“It has been everything to me,” explained Lapman, who graduated from Cheshire High School in 2010. “It has guided me out of difficult situations. With a soccer ball around me, I’m the happiest guy around.”

To his delight, he has found numerous ways to share his passion. Currently living in Almarin, Spain, Rodriguez Lapman is displaying his versatility as a soccer player and agent, as well as an English teacher and translator.

“I love soccer and being able to help people,” said Lapman. “My grandfather always told me that if you want something in life, you need to go get it. My girlfriend and my family support me in everything I do.”

Born in Cadiz, Spain, Lapman came to Connecticut for the first time at age 6 and lived in Litchfield.

“I had a culture shock. I didn’t know a lick of English at that time,” reflected Lapman. “My mom wanted us to go to the U.S. and live the American dream.”

He went back to Spain at age 10, but returned to Connecticut just two years later and started his life in Cheshire.

“My uncle and grandfather grew up in Cheshire, so I had a connection to the town,” reflected Lapman.

Through soccer, Lapman made friends and assimilated into American culture. At CHS, he played his favorite sport for four years and led as a senior co-captain.

“(Artur) Branco is a heck of a coach,” said Lapman. “I played with a lot of passion on the field and it got me in trouble at times. I remember one time, coach sat me down and said that I had to relax. He reminded me that I was a good player.”

After high school, Lapman played soccer at American International College (Massachusetts) and captained his team as a senior.

When he graduated from AIC, Lapman was offered the opportunity to play in the Premier Development League for the Western Mass Pioneers, but after thinking about his career, he decided to return to Spain and play professionally.

Since his dad is from the province of Extremadura in Western Spain, Lapman went there and tried out for multiple clubs. Teams were limited to signing just three international players a year, but with his dual citizenship, Rodriguez Lapman took advantage of his background to sign his first contract with Club Deportivo (CD) Don Benito in 2014.

“It was a good atmosphere with great people,” said Lapman. “I was famous as the first American to play for the team.”

While playing on the field, being bilingual also helped Lapman start a career in education. In 2015, he was asked if he was interested in teaching English on his days off at Kepler Academy in Almaden, Spain.

“I came to work there, met my girlfriend, fell in love, and the rest is history,” said Lapman, who also works as a translator in Spain.

When his contract with Don Benito ran out in 2016, Lapman wanted to have a shorter drive to his school, so he signed to play for the Almarin club.

Spanish club teams typically play from August through May, but the schedule has been adapted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would say that soccer is very different here than in the U.S.,” said Lapman. “Spain isn’t a big country, but there are a lot of really good players.”

With Almarin closing their club due to financial reasons, Lapman played a year for C.D. Pozoblanco and then joined his current team, C.D. Castuera, in 2017.

“I like to play here,” stated Lapman. “They have a great youth program, so I can also work with players as an agent.”

Lapman became an agent in 2018. After graduating with an international business degree from AIC, he returned to Spain and earned his master’s degree in sports marketing.

“There was a course to become an official FIFA agent, so I decided to check it out,” reflected Lapman.

He is currently working with 12 players, from age 16 to 24. Agencies have contacted him about signing with them, but Lapman wants to build up his own career.

“I don’t want to carry more than 12 players because I want to be able to give them my full attention,” explained Lapman. “I like to know how they are doing in their education and personal life.”

While not working for an agency, Lapman has partnered with Martin Ayala in the soccer world.

“He sends some Mexican-American players and I send Spanish players his way,” explained Lapman.

While a lot of people know high-profile agents as being wealthy, Rodriguez Lapman feels that the majority are trying to grow their client list on a smaller scale. He has decided that he won’t ask players for money until they get a salary.

“Players see the money, but you have to look for the best situation for them, too,” Lapman explained. “You have to think outside the box even if the players don’t see it. They may not make as much money somewhere, but they’ll get a chance to play and more coaches will watch them.”

Since he played college soccer in Massachusetts, he is working with the AIC program and Western Mass Pioneers to bring Spanish professional coaches to Springfield for a convention next year. One of Lapman’s clients, Sebastian Rosano, played for the Pioneers and now competes for U.D. Montijo in Spain.

“We are going to have coaches work with the players and film the games,” explained Lapman. “Agents will see if they can put the players on any teams.”

Like countless people worldwide, Lapman’s professional career has been hampered this year by the COVID-19 outbreak. He had planned to bring one of his players, Alvaro Perez Munoz, to the U.S.  to try out for teams this year, but the trip was postponed.

“The virus has had a big effect on soccer,” stated Lapman. “The big teams will be okay, but the smaller teams are having a really hard time.”

At one point, Lapman’s whole family was infected with COVID-19. His grandfather passed away this year and only two family members were allowed to attend the funeral.

“You don’t think it will affect you, but then you see it impacting people you know and it becomes very real,” explained Lapman.

While he misses his family around the world, he enjoys partnering on soccer projects with 2011 CHS graduate Francesco Mazzella. The boys played soccer together in high school.

“He is my brother. We’ve been friends since I was 10 years old,” reflected Rodriguez Lapman. “Working with him is unbelievable. He knows Spanish, Italian, and English.”

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