Winston-Salem is one of the greatest small cities in the world. Famous Winston-Salemites will feature some accomplished people that lived in Winston-Salem and now have moved on to do great things. All of the questions will be about their time in the Twin City.
*Wells not only is a great soccer player, but he is also as nice of a guy as you can be. We were showing the 2011 Women’s World Cup at a/perture and did a giveaway. I wrote Wells and asked if he could get us a signed autograph, and he next day delivered it to get it to the theater in time for the championship game and giveaway.
Wells Thompson was born and raised in Winston-Salem. After a successful career at Reynolds and Forsyth Country Day, he went on to be a star at Wake Forest. He was selected fifth overall in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Superdraft in 2007. After three years as an all-around midfielder for the New England Revolution, he was traded to the Colorado Rapids. In 2010, Wells was an integral part of their run to the MLS Cup Championship title. Wells played in 2013 for the Chicago Fire, and has played the last two years for the Charlotte Eagles and the Carolina Railhawks (Raleigh) in the United Soccer League.
Wells also excels off the field, as he was named the 2011 Rapids Humanitarian of the Year. He currently hosts soccer camps and private coaching in the North Carolina area (www.wellsthompsonsoccer.com), and he also writes a blog. Wells has been married to his wife, Daphne, for four years as of this past December. They have a son, Declan, that will turn two this April, and a golden retriever, Spirit.
How long did you live in Winston-Salem?
I was born and raised in Winston. Since I went to school at Wake Forest University, I lived in Winston from birth until I was 23, except for a one and a half year period in high school when I lived in New York.
Which Winston-Salem streets have you lived on?
When I was born, I lived for several years on Red Oak Lane until we moved to Englewood Dr., where my parents still reside.
What different Winston-Salem schools did you go to?
I went to Summit School from Kindergarten through eighth grade. I then went to Reynolds for one and a half years. And then after one and a half years in New York, I came back to Winston to attend Forsyth Country Day School for two years.
Who were your favorite teachers at each school?
Summit School had the best teachers. Some that come to mind are Mr. Wilcox, Mrs. Greene, and Mrs. Standefer. At Reynolds, I was very fond of Coach Williams. At FCDS, Hank Battle, Mrs. Funk, Mr. Cordray, Anne-Taite, and Coach Turner were all great teachers and people who blessed my life greatly.
Did you play any other sports besides soccer growing up?
I did. I played competitive baseball, basketball, ice hockey, golf and even swam on the swim team.
What club soccer teams did you play for in the area?
Did you have any coaches in Winston-Salem that had a major impact on your growth and your career?
Absolutely. Coach Jerell York was my first club soccer coach and he was phenomenal. I just remember him being an awesome guy who loved the game of soccer and loved us kids. He made his players want to play for him because of the kind of man that he was.
My dad is certainly someone who comes to mind here. He was also my YMCA basketball coach. My dad, and mom, played such a pivotal role in my life and still do. They encouraged me and my brother and sister to stay active and involved in sports. They were athletes growing up so that, no doubt, played a huge role in why my parents encouraged us to stay involved.
Coaches play such an important role in kids’ lives. Dr. Billy Graham said, “One coach will impact more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.” All the coaches that I have had over the years have played a part in my development as a man and athlete. With certain coaches it is easy to make that correlation, but not so much with others. I’ve been so blessed to have some great men coach and mentor me throughout my entire life. I’m grateful for these men, for they have helped me become who I am today.
What were your top three local Winston-Salem restaurants?
Village Tavern, La Carreta, Sherwood Plaza.
If you were to move back to the area, where do you think you would want to live?
This is a great question. I am frequently back in W-S because most my family still lives there and I was asking my wife this last time we were in Winston. I’m not totally sure either. It would be nice to find a nice piece of land on the outskirts of town, but then again you can’t beat the charm and family feel of being in the Buena Vista area.
Were you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
I was way more of a Thruway fan. I never have been a mall guy and because Thurway was way closer and more convenient, that pretty much sealed it for me.
If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian Sugar Cake, Bojangles Biscuits, or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts?
Wow! This ain’t no joke. How the heck am I supposed to choose here? I can’t believe I am not going to choose Krispy Kreme, because they are my absolute favorite, but I’m going to have to go with the Moravian Sugar Cake. I think I could probably eat that on a more regular basis.
What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Atlantic Beach. We grew up spending our summers here at my Grandmother G’mommie’s beach house. My mom’s brother and sister both have a place at Atlantic Beach as well, so it’s always a big family affair when we go down. It’s probably one of my top three, if not my top, favorite places in the world.
Where is your favorite place in the mountains in North Carolina?
Valley Crucis. My parents good friends have a cabin there. It’s idyllic. There’s a creek that runs through the backyard and it’s about the most peaceful place I’ve ever been.
Did you ever go to Ziggy’s?
I absolutely went to Ziggy’s. I feel like everyone from W-S had to have at least experienced this place once in their life. And because I went to Wake, I had lots of opportunities to get down at Ziggy’s.
What was your favorite concert there?
Pat Green was probably my favorite concert that I saw at Ziggy’s. I went to see him while I was at Wake with a bunch of my college buddies. I was having a blast. I remember seeing a good buddy of mine at the concert. He was ahead of me, closer to the stage. I’ll never forget this. I wanted to get his attention, so I did what any buzzed college kid would do and threw an empty beer can at him. I missed with the first and chucked another one, not thinking anything of it. Well the bouncers didn’t respond too kindly. I got tackled and dragged outta that place so fast. I never did get my buddy’s attention, but that’s something I’ll never forget. Good times at Ziggy’s.