Worthington Kilbourne High School graduate Danny O'Rourke still is pursuing his dreams in the world of soccer as a member of his hometown Columbus Crew.

Worthington Kilbourne High School graduate Danny O'Rourke still is pursuing his dreams in the world of soccer as a member of his hometown Columbus Crew.

He is a vital cog on the defensive side of the ball in making the Crew the best team in Major League Soccer during the regular season and one of the favorites to capture the championship as the playoffs begin this weekend.

I still totally enjoy interviewing O'Rourke every week as a member of the Crew. For all the young soccer players, the youth league, middle school and high school coaches and all the soccer parents, I gleaned advice from the Crew star on the game in which he excels.

Q: What is the best advice you can give to young people starting soccer?

A: "First of all, the earlier you start, the better. But you have to want to start playing the game and not because your parents want you to. Soccer is all about having fun. Of course you have to work hard to move up in competition, but this is still about really having fun with an activity.

Q: What are the important skills to learn at an early age?

A: "Try to understand the game of soccer first and then learn the skills needed to be successful. Passing and trapping the ball are things you can work on in your back yard with your family. Learn to juggle the ball with your feet and work as hard as possible at feeling comfortable with the ball."

Q: How about developing the right mental attitude?

A: "Mental attitude and self-confidence is what separates a good player from a great player. I have played in thousands of games and I realized that your mental approach to the game is about 90 percent of how much you will succeed. If you truly believe in yourself, then and only then you can be successful."

Q: What advice do you have for coaches?

A: "Understand that youngsters playing the game of soccer can gain a lot from being part of a team. Stress teamwork and the importance of working together as a unit. Some of the best memories that young players have are the relationships they develop with teammates and opponents so always encourage that and, of most importance, make sure your players are having fun."

Good luck to Danny O'Rourke and the Crew as they pursue their dreams in the next few weeks.