Once the Future Himself, Colin Anderson Is Back at Thomas Brooks Park

The former gold medalist at the WBSC U-12 World Cup shares how his USA Baseball journey began at Futures, and why he's here again this year.

Standing in the Team Elite dugout at Thomas Brooks Park’s Field No. 8, Colin Anderson watches on as the squad from Georgia that he’s helping coach takes a 2-0 win over Top Tier Select on Friday morning at the 2024 10U Futures Invitational.

He knows the fields well from being here before, though this is the first time in the last few years that he isn’t at a Futures event in Cary, N.C. as a player.

Anderson first arrived at Thomas Brooks Park in 2021 was one of many young, excited players competing at the 10U Futures for the first time. For him, arriving for the tournament was the start of something new.

“I lived in a small-county town in Florida, and started to do well there. We moved up to Georgia, and that's where I got where I am today,” Anderson said. “I met some coaches, got bigger there, and back then I was young enough to play here at the 10U Futures, and that's where I got recognized. I was playing for one of my coaches, not now, but he was one of my better coaches that I've had the past few years.”

Playing as a member of Next Level Prospects, Anderson spoke glowingly of his 10U Futures experience as something that not only meant a lot to him in the moment but continues to hold a special place in his life three years later.

“It was huge. Before I even got here, I watched a bunch of stuff on how USA Baseball was, on how this event went. And it was huge for me, it was the biggest tournament I played all year. I got to meet some of the scouts here, some of the players, and coaches. They're all very nice too. That was probably one of the cooler things that I've done in the past years, while going up the rankings, the stages of baseball.”

While Anderson was living out his dreams in Cary, first at 10U Futures before returning with Next Level Prospects in 2022 to compete for the 11U Futures crown, decision-makers were taking note of the young slugger’s talent. Anderson’s strong play at both tournaments paid off immediately after the conclusion of 11U Futures.

“When I was here for 10U Futures, I got recognized for what I did there, and then I came back for 11U Futures to try to get to the 12U National Team Training Camp,” Anderson explained. “And I did well there too, at 11U. They invited me to the Training Camp, which was the next week, so I stayed an extra week to do that, which was a really good experience with all the coaches that were there. It was kind of slow, kind of fast, kind of just all happened in one summer. And that was a huge, huge moment for me in life.”

Anderson continued to impress in Training Camp, eventually earning a spot on that year’s 12U National Team that would go on to compete in the 2022 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan. Anderson noted that it was a bit of a strange experience, with the COVID-19 pandemic still having an impact.

“It was weird and a lot different because I had no parents with me for three or four weeks going through this,” he admitted.

But while it may have been a strange experience in the beginning, Anderson praised his teammates, coaches, and those at USA Baseball who made the trip to compete in the World Cup possible.

“The coaches, all of them were really, really good. The director, manager, my teammates, all of them. They were really, really nice and kind to you all around and it was huge to have them with us through that, through the three or four weeks that we were there.”

The impact on the players, along with the bonds forged by the team during their time together, was evident on the field in Tainan as the USA went 8-0 on the way to the gold medal.

Anderson emerged as a key player during the run, appearing in all eight games and leading both Team USA and the World Cup with seven home runs and 21 RBIs on 10 hits. He crushed two homers in Team USA’s 10-2 victory over Venezuela in the gold medal game against Venezuela, and was named as the Tournament MVP.

Asked what it felt like when he realized he would be a gold medalist and what it meant, Anderson gave a usual soft-spoken, honest answer by saying that it was huge for him and his teammates, but that he blanked out in the celebrations when Team USA recorded the final out.

Anderson’s next challenge will be competing at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in the National Team Championships North Carolina, which ranges from 13U to 17U. For the moment, he’s still at Thomas Brooks Park. Not as a player, but as a voice of guidance for his brother, Ryan, and the rest of Team Elite’s 10U squad.

Speaking from experience, Anderson shared what he’s been telling his younger brother as Ryan now becomes the sibling to take on the challenge of playing at 10U Futures.

“I'm just trying to get him to notice that there's no pressure. You just be you. You get too much pressure on yourself, with people watching, with these national coaches watching, and it's going to get in your head. You’ve just got to relax. Have fun. This is a fun tournament, fun baseball … Have confidence in yourself. Have full stability and what you can do on the baseball field. It's a huge part of what you do in the game every day.”

For Colin, living those beliefs out on the baseball field helped transform him from someone playing at Futures for the first time into a present-day champion for his country just a year later. For other players competing in Cary this year, there is no doubt that those same motivations will help spark a new wave of future players donning the stars and stripes.