Grayson Doody of Hermosa Beach has proved this year he is a high-level soccer player and a winner.
Before he dons his UCLA Bruin uniform and starts his collegiate career, he has some business to finish.
Doody, 17, has his senior year at Loyola High School to complete and another season of club.
The soccer star has played on the top-ranked private school team, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation at one point. And, he's played at the club level for Beach FC, which won a national title this summer.
Soccer is something that shapes Doody every day.
“Soccer seems like just a sport to many people, but personally it means so much more,” Doody said. “Besides the immense love I have for the game, soccer shapes my lifestyle. I eat, sleep and breathe soccer.”
Doody is fulfilling a childhood dream in signing with UCLA.
“I decided to commit to UCLA because it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a school," said Doody. "I’ve always dreamed about going to UCLA ever since I was nine years old. My dad and I went to watch their men’s soccer team compete in the Final Four at the NCAA tournament. After watching that game, I told my dad ‘I want to play for UCLA.’”
This past season at Loyola, his team finished unbeaten in the Mission League and was named to the All-Mission League first team.
“It is always a perfect situation when your hardest working player is also one of your best players,” said Loyola head coach Chris Walter. “When Grayson decided to leave the academy (his freshman year) and play for his high school team, Loyola, I knew we had a player who was a true teammate. Grayson always puts the team’s needs in front of himself by playing any position that is asked of him and excelling at it.”
Doody's club team Beach FC Gold finished its season 60-11-9 overall, 28-2-4 in their league and went on to win the 17U U.S. Club Soccer ENPL National championship.
“Winning a national championship was putting the icing on the cake for a great season,” Doody said. “The entire team put so much time, effort and dedication into this season and it all paid off with a national championship. To be crowned national champions was an unbelievable feeling.”
“Grayson is a hard-working young man, committed to our team, and most importantly, always demonstrates determination to continue improving himself on and off the soccer field,” said Beach FC head coach Ever Moratoya.
Doody was named ECNL Player of the Year and was also named to the ENCL All-American Team and was one of 40 players chosen to play in the inaugural Allstate All-American Cup in Florida. He is also a National High School All-American.
“Being named ECNL National Player of the Year is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received because out of all the players that competed around the country. It meant so much that the other coaches and directors thought my performance was worthy of such an honor.”
He spoke about how all this success has come about.
“I attribute my success mainly to the love for the game. If I didn’t enjoy the game as much as I did, I wouldn’t spend the time off the field to workout, practice, watch film, compete or study the best of the best to see what makes them so good. I do all these things because I enjoy when I do well, and I want to be the best that I can be.”
“I’ve played with Grayson since I was seven, so it’s crazy to be able to see him go from an AYSO player to an All-American committed to UCLA,” said teammate Finn West. “Having him on my team makes everything easier because he can play almost any position very well. His hard work ethic and skill brings a sense of confidence to us as his teammates to rely on him in big moments.”
Beach FC teammate Mauricio Gutierrez also spoke about Grayson’s abilities.
“Grayson is a player that makes him look different from everyone else, the way he just takes players on is unbelievable. When you give him the ball you know the play is going to be very dangerous, him and I can be the most effective and powerful duo in the South Bay.”
He has some unfinished business to take care of at Loyola.
“I’m very excited to play one more year at Loyola because I have so much pride representing my high school," said Doody. "My teammates turn into my brothers at Loyola. I will cherish every moment out on the field with them one last time. Hopefully, we can make some memories that last a lifetime.”
His parents have been there to witness all their son’s achievements and had an impact on his success.
“As a parent, you always hope that someday your kids hard work and passion will help them make their dreams come true,” said his mother Kari Doody. “I was thrilled the day Grayson decided that soccer would be the best sport for him. Grayson never complained about going to soccer practice or tournaments and always put in the overtime to be the best that he could be.”
His father Dennis agreed.
“He has worked so hard to become a very good soccer player. He has missed many normal teenage social events because he was out of town at a tournament or had a game the next day. He never complained. He is super focused on being the best soccer player he can be.”
His first club coach Mark Hodson has seen his former player rise to an elite player.
“I can still vividly remember when Grayson took his first steps in the club youth soccer world during a tryout as a young player and remember his teammates, or soon to be teammates, coming up to me saying at the end of practice saying ‘Hey coach, we got to sign this kid. He is amazing.’”
“He was a really tremendous athlete, works super hard at his game," said Hodson. "And I think more importantly was just a great kid and a really good teammate.”