7,6,5,4...I stared at the clock and at my teammates in the distance, holding the ball on our opponent’s half, thinking that my last soccer game will end in three seconds. “3, 2, 1.” I waited a few more seconds to make sure this is real, that the championship we have dreamed of for so long was finally ours. When I saw everyone fall to the ground in celebration, I ran faster than I had ever run before to join. We had just won the city championship.
The first half of the game was difficult, since the wind was blowing in the direction of our goal, giving the other team an advantage. It was freezing, the temperature around 30 degrees. The half ended 0-0; we held the result and most importantly, we didn’t allow them to score on us.
In the second half, everyone was ready to take the field again and finally score. It was only a matter of time until our captain Lina Jaramillo (℅ 2020) scored the first goal, with an assist from Sasha Aldas (℅ 2023). “It gave me a lot of adrenaline, and it made me confident and comfortable that our spot is secure and now we just have to hold on to it,” she reflects about giving us the lead. Not long after, Ashley Chimborazo (℅ 2023) shot from a free kick, but Mott Haven’s goalkeeper caught the ball. The game went on, until we were notified moments later that the shot had went over the line, and it was 2-0. From that moment, all we had to do was hold the score for about 30 minutes. We won the game 2-0. It was the first time we won the city championship, and the third time in Maspeth High School history that a team had won a city championship. “It was a sense of relief because we’ve been fighting for it for the past four years, and finally having it just felt amazing,” captain Zulecka Fajardo (c/o 2020) describes about hearing the final whistle. Lina adds that is was “a feeling you can’t describe, it leaves you speechless, winning not just with my team but with my family and the audience that came to support, it was captivating.” We were in the losing team’s position last year, and she acknowledges also that we weren’t the only ones playing that game and she went over to encourage Mott Haven as well, saying they played a great game and were difficult opponents. However, we stayed strong the whole game and in the end it was our team effort and sense of unity that truly allowed us to grab the title.
We thank everybody who came to support us. Senior Divya Patel says the game “made everyone feel a sense of unity through cheering for the team and braving the cold.” Students, parents, teachers, and almuni all made the long trip to Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn to cheer for us in the freezing cold. Another student, Richie Rommeney (℅ 2020) says that he had a great time at the game because he was able to show his school spirit, and his favorite moment was “when we scored because we finally got the lead.”
Coach Mevs, reflecting on the season says that the goal was “building a team identity, a unit with a unified vision and goal and I think we succeeded in building that and it was evident from the fact that we were able to win a championship against a tough team.” According to him, the final game wasn’t too different from the others, “just another example of how the girls worked together and understood what they had to do. It was the coming together of everything we’ve been working on all season.” Coach Baker calls this “the most exciting soccer season of my career, both as a player and a coach”, extremely proud of the team and looking forward to the future.
Since we are seniors, we would like to leave off with some advice for our teammates next year and future generations of the team. Lina says what’s most important is to “play with your heart, you never know who’s watching, and don’t forget to run.” I would like to add to the future goalies, taking over the position I was in, that I know it is a lot of pressure but remember that in the moment you have to act, everything goes away and there’s no time to doubt yourself--it’s just you and the ball.
As a final word, “we would like to dedicate our win to Coach Baker who couldn’t make it to the game and Zulecka’s dog Ernie”(Lina).
I would like to add on to thank all of my amazing teammates; I couldn’t have asked for a better team. As for our coaches Mevs and Baker, I think I speak for the whole team when I say we couldn’t have done it without their constant encouragement to give it our all. Thank you to everyone for having so much faith in me when I had to make saves, knowing I had you backing me up gave me all the confidence I needed. I’m proud of all of us and I’m proud to be part of this team.