Varsity Boys Soccer Make It To OIAs

Elaina Bolanos, Editor

Varsity boys soccer entered the OIAs, but not without the challenges faced before their journey ended. The team flaunts their growth as some of the players were pulled up from the junior varsity team and played on the varsity team for the title game.

Many played soccer in previous years, while others only just began their soccer journey.

Team captain Jerrie Charles (12) has been playing soccer all his life, starting at two years old. After being encouraged by his team members and past captains, Charles joined the team after his last season ended early when he tore his meniscus.

Charles plays as striker and center attacking midfield. With his soccer skills and knowledge for the positions from both his club and school team, Charles hoped to bring his team to playoffs and states.

Sharing common goals, the players push to prove their skills. However, this is obtained by hours of practices spent to mentally and physically prepare themselves.

Wester Gapasangra (11) has been playing soccer for two years, and during those two years, he enters games with a clear mind.

All you think about is the game. You let go of the things that were there a couple of minutes ago. You don’t wanna think about that anymore because that really clouds your memory. You want a clear mind,” Gapasangra said.

The team practices every weekday for two hours. During that time, the boys learn to play within each other and build a bond necessary for any athletic team.

Colin Kristolaitis (10) said during their practices, “We’d work on set plays and work on taking different methods from other successful teams on the island. We work that into how we practice.

Working on the field together is just as important as working off of it. A well working team is built from the confidence given by the players. When it comes to the bond off the field, the soccer team has friendship and trust.

Jack Seed (11) said, “I think as a team, we all communicate very well and have each other’s back. We work pretty well together because we are friends outside of school and practice.

The team, first brought together by their mutual love for soccer, continued to bring their own unique qualities and make the team their own.

I’m playing center-midfield. I think I’m in good shape right now. I’ve always been a defender so I guess I have defensive skills,Nicolai Kristensen (10) said.

I think what I bring to the team is integrity, something I hold dear,” Gapasangra said. “I’m in leadership and ROTC as well and I really like to exercise leadership abilities and those kinds of things.”

With their own goals in mind, the boys are determined to play their best.

One of the first goals was to get to OIAs and maybe go to champs, and we did get to OIAs this year again,” Gapasangra said. “And what was different from last year was really the way the team operated. The chemistry we had was a lot better this year.”

“One of my goals for this season was not only as a caption of the Radford soccer team but also as a player and teammate was to help my team reach playoffs and states as well,” Charles said.

Making it to OIAs is a goal well worked for. The players all bring their own qualities, both good and bad. Kristolaitis said he needs to work on his communication.

Rather than yelling at my teammates, I can communicate to them on how they can improve better,” Kristolaitis said.

Getting over losses brings tension among the players

One of the hardest things about playing for the team I think would be getting over a loss or one of the games that we should have had,” Gapasangra said. “We didn’t quite get it but there’s always room for improvement and you just got to recognize that.”

Regardless of their struggles throughout the season, the players have a love of the sport.

For me, soccer has been a part of my life since I could remember. The passion that a soccer fan holds for the sport is amazing,” Charles said. “So if you see me on the field yelling at my teammates or celebrating with my teammates you’ll see the passion in my eyes. Soccer is a serious sport for me and I show that.

Soccer is the most beautiful game out of all other sports.” Gapasangra said. It’s one of sportsmanship.