The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

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The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

Senior Soccer Players Conclude A New Legacy

Senior+Soccer+Players+Conclude+A+New+Legacy

Four years of roaring success: the lasting impact of Elkhart’s senior Lions soccer team…

As the final whistle blows, marking the conclusion of four swift years since the merge of Elkhart High School, the senior players on the boys soccer team stand on the field, reflecting on a journey that will permanently reside in the history of the school.

Eberardo Cabrera, Brandon Perez Alvarado, Myles Sanford, Cory Hausbach, Kevin Zendejas, Jared Garcia-Esparza, and Gian Romero Iraheta have all been a part of this remarkable journey, as Lions, for all four years of their high school careers. Each passing season has not only witnessed victories and defeats but also unraveled new achievements, turning the challenges of the merge into stepping stones for a team that evolved into a powerhouse.

Their journeys on the team began during their freshman year—the first year of the merge—but many of the players have been playing since they could keep up with the ball. However, stepping onto the field as a freshman was not an easy task for all. Forward Perez Alvarado shares he had some anxiety while trying out for the team, “At first I did mind [the merge between schools] because I thought it would make soccer tryouts more competitive.” Looking back on this moment, he shares that the event “pushed [him] to try harder.”

Most of the players had no clue of this accomplishment until their senior night, yet they share the same prideful sentiment as Cabrera: “I hope I come up to some people’s minds when they think of the first years together as Lions.” Cabrera is a forward for the team and has an older sister who previously played for Memorial, making this legacy much more significant. Originally, the rivalry between Central and Memorial had been an exciting concept for many, including Cabrera. Yet, upon learning about the upcoming merge, the prospect of the matchup between the two schools had been shut down. Nevertheless, the players were eager to begin playing for their high school.

Not so unexpectedly, however, the merge had brought about a significant benefit: a stronger team. “I think the soccer team has had much more talent since the schools have merged. [T]he team came with some…difficulties at first, but we became one of the best high school teams,” Perez Alvarado recalls. Much of the team agrees the collaboration between the merged schools led to a stronger team, leading the Lions to find their stride. “I feel like the team did really well after merging, and we began competing with the big schools better after the talent from both sides were combined,” defense player Sanford adds.

As Lions, the team worked hard to turn hardships into successes and continued to use these lessons to develop their own personal growth. Sanford articulates how this translated for him: “Being a part of the Lions taught me discipline, perseverance, and teamwork. I learned these things through the discipline to stay involved in the game at all times and showing up prepared, persevere through the losses and the hard times as a team, and trust and respect those around me on the field.”

Now, as fall transitions into winter, the senior players are able to reflect on their high school soccer journey. The memories they’ve created over the years are precious; from thrilling victories to heart-wrenching defeats, each game has its place in their hearts. “I will mainly miss my coach and teammates. Coach Sheely is such a good guy; he always pushes us to be better. I have built a bond with my teammates. They are family,” expresses Perez Alvarado. For Cabrera, his favorite experiences reside on the field, including “playing in front of a big crowd [during sectionals], filled with a lot of family and friends” and, “being able to play versus a lot of former teammates.”

As their journey on the high school soccer team has concluded, these senior players have some valuable advice for future players wearing the Elkhart Lions jersey. Sanford, who had previously sustained an injury during his junior year, vocalizes, “Give [it your] all every game because you never know when it could be your last.”

“Play hard and make people respect the Elkhart name behind the jersey. I would like to thank my teams and community for the fun times and memories,” Perez Alvarado states.

Cabrera concludes with, “Push hard every practice because it really makes a difference. Don’t follow the crowd, be a leader, and try to be a role model for the team no matter what grade you’re in.” Cabrera’s last message is directed towards his team: “Thank you for these past 4 great years. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else but you guys; thank you for all the memories that I will forever cherish. Keep fighting for the name behind our jerseys.” Yet, despite these heartfelt farewells, the players will continue to integrate soccer into their future lives. 

Within the vast canvas of high school athletics, these seven seniors have left an undeniable mark. As the first Elkhart Lions for four consecutive years since the school merge, they have exemplified dedication, unity, and the spirit of the game. Their legacy will continue to inspire generations of Lions to come.

 

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Claudia Rosales, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Claudia Rosales and am joining my second year on the team as a senior! Within my first year on The PENNANT, I’ve learned an incredible amount of new and valuable input from the student body and want to do that again this year. I’m a believer that giving students a voice, especially in such a huge school setting, is vital. I admire literature, aspire to create art, and hope to share new perspectives and inspire other students during my final year here.

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