Soccer seniors prepare to say final goodbye


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The end has come for six Pumas; the closing of soccer season means the team’s seniors must hang up their cleats for the last time.

Keegan Cunningham

At the young age of four, Keegan Cunningham started playing on the soccer field.

“I had a lot of my friends playing soccer,” Cunningham explained,”and our parents kind of got together and put us on a team, and  I just fell in love with the sport.”

As he entered high school, he started on JV A as a freshman. Cunningham heard about the positive qualities of the program and decided to try out.

“The experience of meeting new people and hang out all the time and being able to bond over a game that we all like,” Cunningham said.

Even though he knew that collegiate soccer wasn’t in his after school plan, Cunningham has made the most of his years in the soccer program.

Garrett Kowalski

Senior Garrett Kowalski didn’t originally plan on joining soccer.

“My parents wouldn’t let me play tackle football so I went to play soccer,” Kowalski said.

This put him on the path to playing on JV A freshman year for the program. Later, he became one of three captains for varsity.

Kowalski is seemingly bittersweet about leaving the team: “It’s always fun to be remembered for a little while.”

He hopes that his time in the program will help the other boys: “Work hard and do your school work, it’ll take you far,” Kowalski said.

Jaden Martelli

Starting from the eager age of three, Jaden Martelli has had a love for the soccer field. His athletics stems from a young age on recreational soccer teams, to a brief basketball break, and back to soccer on club at 13 years old.

Prior to this year, Martelli did not make any of the teams. However, he persevered to earn his spot in the program. For him, making the team is “the best feeling of his high school career.”

“I wanna be remembered as kind of like a role model to not give up,” Martelli said.

The drive that the player has is evident and paid off in the end; his love for the game is, conclusively, what brought him to the lineup.

CJ Parisian

From the age of five, CJ Parisian has been playing on the field from California all the way to Arizona. At age 12, he began refereeing for younger kids “because it has been such a big part of [his] life.

“I didn’t start actually training as a goalkeeper until seventh grade with my club coach,” Parisian said.

Entering high school, Parisian was goalkeeping as a JV A team puma. Over the years  goalkeeping has grown on him and has brought out the natural leader in Parisian.

However, the downside of a goalie’s job is, as one would expect, injuries. According to Parisian, the first home game was one to remember because of the cleat-to-face injury he took.

The advice Parisian has for future Pumas: “ Balance between school and soccer, and if you have a job then balance between that- don’t think that you can work right after practice everyday because you can’t.”

Cole Stewart

With seven years of soccer, four being for the varsity program, Cole Stewart is a veteran and captain on the team. Stewart transitioned from club to school and realized how much quicker and tighter the games were.

According to the senior, his start on the fields “like any other kid” in which his parents stuck him in the sport. Although he does not plan to play pro, his love for the game is undeniable.

“I honestly don’t know because it’s just fun,” Stewart said,” The running kind of sucks and the physical exercertion of it all is not fun, but something about is really attractive and it’s not really easy to put it into words.”

Shaun Wilkerson

In the eighth grade Shaun Wilkerson found soccer to be his new sport.

“I quit baseball and I needed to find a new sport and soccer seemed fun to me,” Wilkerson said.

Freshman year brought a new season with new competition, and to Wilkerson, soccer has more activity and more excitement for him.

“There’s a lot more activity than baseball and it’s a lot more rewarding to score,” Wilkerson said.  

However, he believes that soccer is not everything: “They shouldn’t think that soccer is everything,” Wilkerson said, “and should be more well-rounded students than soccer players because it will be more useful in college.”

Each one has an individual upcoming in the sport, but despite to diverse begins of their careers, it brought them all together to play one last time before college.

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