State Champion Soccer: what’s next?

Luis Pagan-Gonzalez, Staff Writer

It is official; the 2018-2019 soccer season is over and the Central Catholic Buttons have taken the TAPPS state soccer championship for the third year in a row! The Buttons have worked hard from the start of the season last year to the TAPPS Championship game last Friday, earning their victory and place as the 2019 Winter Soccer Boys Division I State Champions.

But this season has not been a walk in the park. The soccer team has had to overcome many different challenges throughout this season. The most expected one was filling in the gaps left by Seniors of the previous school year who have now graduated. The team also faced unexpected injuries that heavily limited performance such as when Jacob Jones tore a hamstring in the beginning of the season. All of this along with the added challenge of more games against public schools added to the season schedule, who had the advantage of a wider access to skilled soccer players, and four losses in a row during mid-January, really tested the Buttons during this season. This experience had to be disheartening for some of the team members, understandably; however, the coaches never doubted their players, and helped them get back on track and stay strong.

All of the issues faced throughout the season were temporary problems. As the Buttons proved in the State Championship game, they refused to give up and worked even harder during training than they perform in games and worked together to keep each other positive. Senior Luis Jaen, a captain for the team, says that “we stood our ground and played well.” These boys refused to give up even if the odds were against them. Coach Edward Cartee even said “the players did an outstanding job of applying their training and executing our game-plan. I’m proud of this team for representing our program and our school with distinction and class.”

Not every moment was difficult or negative, this season has spawned some amazing moments, such as in the early part of the season, when Angel Bacho shot the winning goal against Loyola High School from California. This dethroned Loyola as the No. 1 high school soccer team in the nation and placed Central, who was previously only No. 25, on top and Bacho eventually signed up with UNC-Greensboro to play Division One college soccer under a scholarship! The epic victories continued all the way to the end of the season when Central won the TAPPS State championship against the Bishop Lynch Friars from Dallas.

So what is next for the Central Catholic soccer team? According to Coach Cartee, “The top priority is replacing our seniors who are graduating. The ultimate goal for next season is to win another state championship, and I’m sure when we’re on our preseason retreat the team will agree on other goals they’d like to focus on achieving along the way.” With the outstanding performances the team members that will be staying have shown, and the team’s current track record, the future is looking bright for the Buttons.