It was a win a long time in the making.
This past May, the Meadowcreek High School Boys Varsity soccer team made history when they brought home the first state championship for any Mustangs team since the school first opened for the 1986-87 school year.
The players’ victory and efforts were recently honored during a special ceremony at the Gwinnett County school. Surrounded by their parents, teachers and school administrators, members of the team were given commemoratory rings to recognize their achievement.
“I hope they remember this for the rest of their lives. You don’t get the chance to win a championship every day, and definitely not a state championship,” said Principal Tommy Welch during the celebration.
While Welch spoke, the players – all dressed in sky blue-colored jackets, the school’s official color – could not resist admiring their new rings. For some, it was an unforgettable moment.
“It really helped me, because the coach chose me as caption, to be leader,” said goalkeeper José Luis Alvarado.. “I didn’t think he was going to pick me, and that helped me a lot.”
For forward Fabián Rivas, the feeling was similar. “You have to be all you can be and battle as hard as you can,” he said.
The road to victory was not easy, but for the players it all boiled down to giving everything they had.
“It was difficult, but I wanted my grades to be good — B’s and A’s. So, I practiced a lot and I studied a lot,” said defender Gabriel Flores.
Coach Alejandro Casillas also expressed his pride in the team.
“It’s awesome to see this. It’s an inspiration for all Meadowcreek High School, to see that we can do anything we set out to do. It was our school’s first championship in 30 years. It was really great for the entire community,” assured Casillas.
Athletic Director LaShawn Smith was also present for the ceremony.
“We unite and find ways to overcome the challenges that we all face every day. But to know that we can come together as one and work together to inspire ourselves is exactly what we see in our own students,” said Smith.
Even fans of the team came to the ceremony to show their support, including Derek Claros, who is well known on the team for never missing a game.
“I had the chance to support the team all season. Despite all the difficulties they faced, I was always loyal and glad to know that in some way or another, they were going to come out on top and deal with anything thrown their way,” explained Claros, a fellow athlete at Meadowcreek who plays wheelchair basketball.
“At halftime and before and after games, I would always chat with them and try to be an example of what an athlete is and even give my own life example, that sometimes things don’t work out. You go into it with the best intentions, but the important thing it to hold your head high and fight for what you want, and that’s what these guys did,” added Claros.
After the ceremony, players spent time chatting with each other and taking photos together with their rings.
Each Saturday look for a feature story from our media partners at Mundo Hispanico that highlights an aspect of the Hispanic community. For a closer look at its content, go to www.mundohispanico.com or contact editors and reporters directly at 404-881-0441.