Soccer Boy’s Bond Leads To WIN


Photo by Anna Krzewinski

Sophomore Josh Peloquin follows the soccer ball with his eyes as it passes from defender to midfielder. Bending his knees, he readies himself. As a forward, it’s his sole job to make the goal; this is what his mind is focused on as the ball makes its way toward him.
The ball passes through two of the other team’s players and right to junior Captain Leo Gonzalez, center midfielder. He doesn’t hear the groans of the crowd as a player falls or the cheers as they quickly jump back up but puts all of his attention into passing the ball to his teammate.
With Josh 30 yards from the goal and a wall of defenders blocking his progress, the rest of the midfielders along with Leo rush in to take a rebound if necessary.
Two strides and a juke later, Josh is close enough to make the shot.
The crowd and the benched teammates all draw in a breath, waiting for it.
Step. Kick.
It’s almost play-off season for the varsity boys soccer team and excellence is the expectation.

With last year’s team being made up of mostly seniors who have graduated, a lot of the varsity players are new this year. A team’s bond, both on and off the field, is important for every soccer team, and since most of the players on the team this year had never played with each other before, varsity had to learn to gel with one another.

The loss against Old High was a yellow card for the boys; they realized that their team’s bond is not what it needs to be to make it to play offs.

“At the beginning of the season we were a really good team, and then toward the middle, especially at the Old High game, we weren’t really bonding as much,” sophomore Ryan Mickus said.

Their game was hurt by the lack of relationship between the players as a team.

“Whenever there’s no chemistry going on, no one really wants to pass it to their team mates; they want to be selfish,” Mickus said. “But if you trust in your team mates then you know that you can pass to them, and no matter what happens, they will try their best.”

After getting together at a team dinner and talking over the problem, the boys decided it was time for a change.

“I believe team bonding affects how you play because if you don’t come together as a team, you won’t play as a team,” Peloquin said.

On the Friday of the Burkburnett game, the morning after the team dinner, Peloquin said all the boys were talking to each other and smiling, saying hello in the hallways.

“We’re going to come out like never before. Last night we talked about it and we’re ready,” Peloquin said on the day of the Burk game. “It’ll be a day to remember I believe.”

And it was.

The game went better than any of the preceding district games with a win of 7-0. The varsity team’s new bond and determination made all the difference.

“It was way different than the other games we’ve been doing,” Gonzalez said. “There was more communication, more chemistry going on. We were motivating each other. If someone missed the goal we would cheer them up, ‘it’s alright you’ll get it next time!’ The Old High game was a wake-up call. We needed to get better, prove ourselves.”

The game was forgotten in the midst of change, and the initial blow has faded, leaving the boys with a sense of purpose.

“That was just another game,” Gonzalez said. “In my head the next day, I was like, we shouldn’t be worried about that. Yeah, they broke a streak but it’s just another district game, it’s not going to affect us unless they win the second game.”

The boys do not plan on losing against Old High a second time.

“They just wanted it more,” Gonzalez said. “We were more focused on getting a goal than keeping our formations. That’s what messed us up. It was getting into our heads, and we weren’t thinking right.”

With the Old High loss behind them, the boys are ready to move forward into play-offs with good attitudes and a strong bond. They are refocusing their efforts with a specific goal in mind and are determined to meet everyone’s high expectations.

“When we focus on the team and the business that we are there for,” Peloquin said, “there is no one that can stop us.”