by Regis Rouzier
In the center of the field, the team is lined up on the C, collectively experiencing this heart-pumping moment. It's 9 p.m. on a school night, and the Columbus soccer team is facing Doral Academy in the District Finals.
Following a scoreless game, the team finally went into penalties. As one solitary kick had the potential to transform the team's dreams into reality, the pressure on the players was almost unbearable. Tied at four goals each, senior Bosco Miranda calmly walked from that iconic 'C' to the penalty box, confidently slotting the ball into the back of the net. At that instant, a surge of pride coursed through the team.
It was a defining moment that displayed the true spirit of being an Explorer; a reminder that the team never stops until the game is won.
This year, the standards for the soccer team are as high as ever. With the state championship in their sights, the players hope to bring it all home once again, just as they did in the past.
In 2015, the soccer program brought that state championship back to the trophy case but the team has fallen short ever since. When new coach Kameron Clark was appointed as head coach of the team, the main goal was to establish a program that could maintain a high level of performance and contend for states every year.
‘‘I want this program to compete for states year in, year out and hopefully bring that championship back home,’’ says head coach Kameron Clark.
Not everyone understands that soccer is really a way of life. It's a classroom where players learn some of the most valuable life lessons. Beyond the goals, the passes, and the victories, soccer teaches enduring principles that will shape them as individuals long after their playing days are over.
When asked what lessons he’s learned from being on this team, senior Jorge-Luis Diez answered, “ The first thing that coach talks about is really work ethic and now I’ve applied that same work ethic to all aspect of my life.”
Still, this program offers our players opportunities to play for colleges around the nation and even play for academies to further develop their potential. The school's soccer standout Cristian Ortiz recently joined MLS club Inter Miami's U19 squad.
When asked what he would want to see from this program in the future, coach Clark stated, “ We hope to send our kids to play in college, whether it's d1 or d3, but in the next few years we want to see our first professional player come out of here.”
As the season gets closer and closer, the program continues to thrive and provide our players with skills and lessons that they will be using on and off the field, but one question stays unanswered.
Who will be the first superstar coming out of this soccer team?