Day in the Life: Boys Soccer

A boy from Brazil. One from Egypt and another from England. A pair of Greek-Australians. Others raised by parents who immigrated to the U.S. from every corner of the world. They are the TPHS varsity boys soccer team (7-5-3). A group of boys whose love of “the beautiful game” has dissolved all barriers. 

“We all share a certain love for this game,” one of the team captains Arik Kowarik (12) said. “It’s what unites us.”

Head coach Francisco Lona believes that the team’s close bond, despite their cultural diversity, is a reflection of the true nature of soccer. 

“This sport connects people from so many backgrounds,” Lona said. “You don’t even need to speak the same language. The language is football.” 

The boys themselves also appreciate the distinctiveness of their team’s makeup. 

“Our team is a mixture of people from everywhere,” Filippos Tsironis (12) said. “We do tease each other, but at the end of the day, it’s awesome.”

On and off the pitch, the boys are one — a true team. 

“We all understand that you can’t win by yourself in this sport,” Danny McKelliget (12) said. 

Another team captain Malik Begic (12) echoed this sentiment.

“You can have the greatest game of your life, but winning is impossible if you don’t have your team,” Begic said.

According to team manager Omar Tawfik (12), the team’s close connection came inherently.

“Since the first day of tryouts, we already had a special chemistry,” Tawfik said.  

This chemistry does not go to waste. Even to an untrained eye, the cohesiveness of each play in a game is apparent. However, even when someone slips up, there’s a teammate to help.

“If you mess up on the field you have 10 other guys who have your back,” Aidan Jennings (11) said. 

Akin to siblings, the boys bicker over everything. But, when one of them scores a goal in a game, their deafening eruption of whoops makes you think you’ve witnessed a World Cup final. Most of all, each moment they share is filled with joy.

“We just have so much fun when we’re out on the field,” Kowarik said. Lona also recognizes the one-of-a-kind nature of this team.

“They are just a great group,” Lona said. “They’re going to do very well in life not just because of how they carry themselves as individuals. They represent Torrey Pines in the best way.”

They are friends because they love the game. They are a team because they love the game. There are many ways in which they are different, but soccer has made them brothers in every way but blood.

Photo by Natalia Mochernak/Falconer

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