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Playing soccer strengthens brotherly bond

Growing up as cousins in a latino community all they knew was soccer. How to play it, every little detail that came with it, as well as the rules. Little did they know that as they grew older soccer would turn into more than just a family tradition.

Being on the field together daily is what inspired cousins Juan Raya, Francisco Raya, and Demetrio Delgado to retire their careers as student athletes during their senior year. They dedicated themselves to trying their hardest to make their last high school season a good one.

Soccer was a sport that both Francisco and Juan’s parents played when they were students in high school, so they agreed to put the boys into a soccer league when they were young. To Juan, “soccer was in our blood. It wasn’t just a sport, it was like a religion.” They grew up playing in the same league, but not always the same team.

All three went to different high schools so, unlike previous years, they no longer practiced together. It wasn’t until recently that Juan and Francisco came to Stagg and joined Demetrio  on the soccer team. To Juan this was “perfect, considering that we are all seniors, and we were able to sort of finish off our seasons together.”

They play different positions on the field. Demetrio is goalie, Juan plays defender and Francisco plays midfield. Though the positions are completely different, they still find ways to work with each other, motivating and pushing one another to reach their potential.

With the help of their teammates, they were able to make their last year a great one. The team finished 6-0-4 in league and was able to make it to playoffs against Napa High. Though they lost to Napa, it was still a great fight, and they were still able to take first place in the SJAA.

Junior Felix Molina recognized Francisco as a strong player individually, saying “he is underestimated by opponents because of his size, but in the same way he demonstrates that looks can be deceiving.” Juan is the only one of the three that will be continuing his career after he graduates.

According to junior David Zermeno,“they take on this leadership role, not only do they motivate and help each other but they push the whole team.” The three cousins set the bars high for each other and their teammates, to keep them striving for bigger and better goals.

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Playing soccer strengthens brotherly bond