Senior soccer players enjoy achieving their gooooooals

The Fairmont Varsity soccer team huddles up pregame (Photo By: Alona Skipper).

The Fairmont Varsity soccer team huddles up pregame (Photo By: Alona Skipper).

The Fairmont Boys’ Varsity Soccer team is very much senior-dominated, with eight of the 16 roster spots occupied by members of the Class of 2013. And those seniors (Aaron Smith, Jon Beeson, Nick Bisaha, Damian Hughes, Kyle Mellon, Adan Salguero, E.J. Sanford and Adam Wolfe) are putting the finishing touches on a regular season that has already exceeded last year’s disappointing record (6-9-3).

As of Oct. 8, 2012, the varsity squad has 8 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties with just two games left in regular season play. The boys take on Springfield at home on Oct. 9 and travel to Springboro on Oct. 11. The Springfield contest is Senior Night for the Firebirds.

“We started off strong, going 5-0 in our first five games,” Head Coach Tom Robey said. “Since then, we have had our losses, but everybody loses some games from here and there. But what makes a soccer team a better team is coming closer together on a loss than a win, which I have seen the players do this year.”

The seniors on the team brought a lot of experience this year. Some have played soccer all four years at Fairmont, and many have been playing the sport since they were quite young.

“I have been playing soccer since I was 5 years old and it has always been a major part of my life,” Hughes said. Sanford and Mellon have both played since they were 3 years old, and Mellon’s first club team was with both Sanford and Hughes.

But the players say soccer can be hard during senior year because the final year of high school brings so many other demands. “It can be really challenging, especially when I am taking five Advanced Placement classes,” said Mellon. “Then on top of that, I have soccer and a job four days a week. We’ve been doing this all through middle school and high school, but during senior year, it’s a little bit harder because senior year is jam-packed with so much stuff, and high school is 10 times faster than middle school, of course.”

But the seniors say that what they’ve gotten from their sport has made it all worthwhile. “What I’ve enjoyed the most would probably be the interaction between the people,” Mellon said. “It was really fun and nice to interact with people that you would normally not interact with throughout the rest of the year.”

Mellon added that those benefits began his freshman year. “It was a whole lot easier as a freshman to meet people when you knew upperclassmen while you played soccer,” he said.

Sanford said one of his favorite things about playing soccer at Fairmont has been watching his teammates progress in terms of their skills and abilities. “It was cool to go through the ranks,” Sanford said. “You start out on the freshman team, and then you work hard and move up and up until you finally meet the most wonderful goal, which is playing and starting on the varsity level.”

And as much as Coach Robey enjoys seeing his senior players gel as a veteran team, he knows that graduation will inevitably bring change to the team.

“It’s always difficult to replace players who understand what expectations are, and it’s hard to replace players we know we can count on,” Robey said. “We hope the players we lose will instill those characteristics, qualities and expectations in the players that they are leaving behind as they graduate.”