Bilingual Reporter Edwin goal with logo
(Portland Timbers)

Bilingual Reporter Program: Interview with Charles Renken

Presented by State Farm Insurance and Providence Health & Services Oregon

The Bilingual Reporter program is designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language. Students are nominated by their teachers and then apply to have the opportunity to interview a Timbers player or a member of the coaching staff. Following the interview, the selected students are required to write a report about the experience in English and Spanish. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their bilingual speaking and writing skills while exhibiting a passion for the sport. 

Q&A with forward Charles Renken

Written by Edwin Trejo, Arts & Communication Magnet Academy     

Why some people have no appreciation of soccer is a mystery. The critics continuously say, "It's a sport for people with no strength," and "It's too long and boring." Now that's just funny to hear, because it takes tremendous skill to get where the pros are.  I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to be a bilingual reporter for the Portland Timbers.  Being a Bilingual Reporter changed my whole perspective on the sport. A soccer player runs out of breath on many countless occasions and he stands the risk of getting a broken nose or even a broken bone, but it is the love for the game that keeps him going.

Studen Edwin Trejo and Timbers midfielder Charles Renken
Photo: Portland Timbers

Being a Bilingual Reporter has been one of the best experiences of my life. I got the chance to tour the players’ locker room and facility, watch practice, and tour the Spanish language broadcast partner estrellaTV/KGW studios, but the best part of the experience was the interview with Charles Renken.  After interviewing him, I left knowing that he truly loves this sport. One of the most memorable things I learned from his story was that as a young child, Renken began playing barefoot soccer every day in the streets and fields of Zambia, using makeshift soccer balls made out of melted plastic bags. He is an example of dedication, hard work, persistence, and passion. Interviewing Charles gave me a better understanding of the sport. The way the game is organized, is simple but still provides a challenge for the players. While watching the players’ practice, I realized that teamwork really creates a bond between players and even coaches, and without it, success is practically impossible.

If you aspire to become a professional soccer player one day, you must know the challenges and sacrifices it takes to get there. The hard work is reflected in how you play the game. This means that you should always work hard during your practices and games. This is very important because if you are not giving 100 % during your practice, neither will you do it during your games. Never give up on your dreams, and live your life like a professional. This includes sleeping at least eight hours per night, nor consuming alcohol, having a proper soccer diet, etc. Remember that it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, because if you don’t live like a professional you will not become one. These are tips from the great Charles Renken himself, and I hope that they are of some help to those people who aspire to become professional soccer players one day.

I would recommend being a Bilingual Reporter to everyone, because it’s a great experience and you can learn a lot from it.  I know that this is an experience that I will never forget, because I came in not knowing anything about professional soccer. I leave with great admiration and respect for the players and the sport.

This report is also available in Spanish.