“Soccer has been a part of my life since before I can remember,” said Masta Kacher, Midfielder for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Kacher was born in Algeria, and he was introduced to the game quickly by his father who coached and played professionally for a while in Algeria. “I love all sports, but soccer is very big where I’m from. North Africa is very close to Europe, so it’s the same culture around soccer – it’s the main sport there. You walk around and see kids playing soccer everywhere – in the streets, in the park.”
When Kacher was six, he moved to Montreal, Canada with his family. Since Algeria is both a French and Arabic-speaking country, it was very easy for him to adapt in Montreal – where French is a dominant language. From North Africa to North America, his parents have supported his love for soccer every step of the way. “My family keeps me motivated. They have always believed in me. On the field some days I’m tired, some days I don’t want to train, some days I’m sick, but when I think about all that my family has done for me – I know how lucky I am. I know many people that I played soccer with when I was younger who didn’t have luck or didn’t have enough opportunity or quit – so I feel fortunate when I get to play a game in front of 5,000 people. How can you complain about that? How can you not be motivated? Thinking about that, as well as my family, is perfect encouragement for me,” said Kacher.
Though playing the sport recreationally his whole life, he began his soccer career at age 14 with Montreal’s Academy program. At age 18, he was part of the academy’s first experience in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA), where he helped his team reach the semifinals in Seattle before finishing third in the USSDA playoffs. Kacher then went on to play for FC Montreal of the USL in their inaugural 2015 season. He joined the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC for the 2017 season, where he has started in all 20 USL matches totaling 1,708 minutes (fourth on team); and has already scored five goals and has three assists. One of his assists was to Sean McFarlane's game-winner against San Antonio FC on June 24th.
“Of course at the level I am right now, I’m still learning a lot. I am always looking to double-up my game, because I want to play at the highest level I can as a player. I develop skills because – I say with humility – I really love the game. What I love most about soccer is the emotion. When I play it’s all emotion. I’m not playing for money or to become famous, I’m playing because I love the game. When I eat I watch games on my phone – I take advantage of all the information that comes to me in the form of coaches, teammates, on the TV and at the stadium. It’s not like other sports. It is not mathematic. So you will always learn something new – every play is different, every player plays differently. I learn my skills by watching and through my passion,” Kacher said.
When Kacher heard about the Switchbacks, and spoke to coach Steve Trittschuh on the phone, he immediately felt a strong connection. They share a lot of ideas in terms of the game, and he felt signing with the Switchbacks was the best decision at this point in his career. “I feel the coaches bring me a lot of confidence, which helps me a lot. It’s not always easy to move to another team and connect with new teammates, but the coaches made it really easy for me and help make me a better player every day.”
Kacher touched upon the strong leadership of team captain Rony Argueta. “He is a leader on the field and off the field. I learn from his attitude and his work ethic – he’s not lazy and he’ll always do one or two extra every day. How he works, his diet – if you want to know how to have success, just look at Rony,” he said.
Switchbacks FC ended San Antonio FC's undefeated winning streak in front of a record crowd a couple weeks ago. The team’s objective is to continue winning games, make the playoffs and ultimately win the championship – but they keep their focus on the day-to-day process and training. Kacher is the type of player that will do everything to help his team. Whether it’s by an assist, a good defensive performance or scoring a goal, his main objective is always to help his team. “In general – in life, at school, in the office – you just have to love what you do. When you love what you do it becomes easier to work hard on it and make sacrifices; because it’s worth it, because you find joy, you find your path.”
Switchbacks FC will be playing Seattle Sounders FC 2 at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 29th for 90's Night, presented by Weidner Apartment Homes – with special edition Switchbacks FC POGS to the first 500 fans in attendance.
For more information or to purchase your tickets to the next home game at Weidner Field, visit SwitchbacksFC.com.