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Albuquerque native goes pro in soccer

From a young age, Spencer, an Albuquerque native, said all he wanted to do was play professional soccer. That desire became a reality after he signed a four-year deal with Molde FK, a Norwegian soccer club.

“Even when I was playing soccer in Albuquerque, I had dreams to play professionally,” Spencer said. “I am living my dream day-to-day and loving it.”

The 6-foot-5-inch forward said he enjoyed playing on club teams in Albuquerque, where he competed alongside UNM sophomore midfielder Josh Goss.

“He has always been a hard worker,” Goss said of Spencer. “He would go out alone, train by himself, work on recovery and would work out in the gym by himself.”

Goss said he and Spencer have been playing soccer together since they were 11 years old. The two were teammates on the Rio Rapids club team before they moved to Arizona, where they played one last year together for the Real Salt Lake Grande Sports Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona.

“We’re still really good friends and talk a lot,” Goss said. “We have always talked about going pro at a young age.”

Spencer’s work ethic was highly touted by his teammates, friends and family at a young age. His sister Caroline Spencer said he would always be the first one to practice and the last to leave, as long as she can remember.

“It’s incredible to say that you look up to your little brother,” Caroline Spencer said. “He inspires me with his drive and focus.”

While Ben Spencer was in just the eighth grade, he led Bosque School to its first state title in 2008 after scoring the only goal of the game late in the match, defeating Sandia Prep 1-0.

“In terms of natural talent, I always knew he would be dominant,” said Elias Scantlen, a former Bosque teammate. “His technical ability was always far better than many players three to four years older.”

Things were not always easy. Spencer said leaving Bosque High School his sophomore year was one of the hardest decisions he has ever made, but he is glad about the decision.

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“I have always thought of myself as a hard working player, but I had never thought of myself as an elite player at a young age,” Spencer said. “Going professional at 18 wasn’t a real option until I left.”

Following his year at Real Salt Lake, Spencer signed a contract with Chivas USA, a professional soccer club located in Carson, California. Spencer said his experience in California gave him exceptional practice being able to compete with the U.S. national team in midst of finishing his junior and senior year of high school online.

Spencer said he committed to playing soccer at UC Santa Barbara in fall 2013, but after the school brought in a new head coach, Spencer explored other options.

“I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with the under-20 Holland national team who happened to be playing Norway,” Spencer said. “Scouts picked me up there, and I made it on a ten game scouting team.”

Spencer said the competition he faced during his time with Norway helped mold him into a better player. Not one month after Spencer turned 18, the forward signed his four-year deal with Molde FK.

Spencer has returned to the states playing on a year loan with Indy Eleven, a professional soccer club in the North American Soccer League.

“Young players who need experience will go on a loan for one year,” he said. “This year has been good getting games and experience, but hopefully I can make my way onto the first team, like I did my first year.”

At just 19 years old, Spencer said his career has already been a busy one.

“It’s just been a bit of a crazy journey,” Spencer said. “But I have enjoyed every step of it.”

Liam Cary-Eaves is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Liam_CE.

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