Boys soccer comes to end after hard-fought season


Kaylee Arriola

The Boys Soccer team worked as one this year after a year-long off-season due to the in-person school shutdown.

The Parkdale boys’ soccer team had a long fought season, as they were able to make it to playoffs, and played regional finals but unfortunately lost. Prior to the playoff season, their record was 6-3. 

The boys’ soccer team started preparing for their season in June, despite being on summer vacation. Their practices were from 3-8pm Monday through Friday and continued once the school year began. Their hours of hard work and dedication eventually paid off, helping them beat Bowie High School, which was an undefeated school until Parkdale was the only school that beat them prior to the playoff season. 

Because of an interrupted season last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual learning, many senior players have been enjoying their last year on the Panther field.

¨My favorite memory has to be against Bowie winning 3-2,” said senior Anthony Manzanares, a right back for the team. “We kept attacking them trying to get the winning goal and within the last second, I managed to score. The energy that was given from the fans was honestly amazing and I don’t think that memory could ever be topped¨. 

Manzanares explained that the team played “for more than a trophy,” but also tried their hardest to show “the inequalities that exist in our county.” 

Another noteworthy accomplishment for the boys was beating Bladensburg in the playoffs, after not being able to do so for two consecutive years. 

One of Parkdale’s assistant soccer coaches, Franscio Lopez, or Coach Paco, had a number of feelings towards beating Bladensburg. 

¨That one was a big weight off our shoulders, a big chip that itś been like nagging us for the last few years,¨ said Coach Paco.  “It was always the same narrative: the better team lost. This year, third time’s the charm because [this is the] third year in [a] row that we get Bladensburg again in the second round of playoffs, and this year we had the best team in the county. You know, [we’ve] always had the better team, but this year we also had high quality players covering each position, and we were confident with our strategies. We dominated the game and it was a beautiful thing to see.”

Another big win of the season was their game against Laurel High School in September.  Their biggest margin win of the season, Parkdale had scored 3-0 before halftime, and after coming back from they were able to score 3 more in the second half. 

Sophomore Jersain Gonzales, a right wing for the team, expressed his gratitude throughout the season as this was his first season on the Panther field. 

¨This season mentally helped me by bringing in positive energy, and knowing I had a good bond with the team as a family […and] knowing they had my back encouraged me to become a better player and human being,” said Gonzalez. “[I enjoyed] being able to have practice right after school and knowing that we were fighting for something much bigger than an award but helping our community and bringing attention to how PG is not giving enough support to their schools.¨

The inequities that both Gonzalez and Manzanares noted include the condition of the Parkdale field, which has had a major effect on how athletes, like the boys soccer team, are able to play.  Click here for more information on the field.

Despite the challenges of the field, the boys persevered and pushed through. 

“Losing knowing that we could have gone all the way was real emotional because we really love these kids,” said assistant coach William Sama, or Coach Will. 

“They’re obedient, humble, hardworking, honor roll students, [and] I am pretty sure if you go around all the counties, we probably have the kids with the highest GPA overall because they are scholars , they are student athletes. We see how much they believe in what we do.” 

— Coach Will

This discipline and dedication could be directly related to the coaches’ dedication, as well.  Throughout the season, the coaches checked grades every Friday, ensured each player was eating well before games, and provided anything else they needed. This clearly translated to the players as they were worried not only about maintaining high grades but also becoming better players.

“I think that this was hands down the best team we have coached at Parkdale,” said Coach Will. “I think that we were very confident going into the playoffs. The boys had a much bigger load to carry because they were coming back from the pandemic, [and] a lot of boys were out of shape and had to get back into the zone and all the protocols, but they still played with heart.”

The Boys Soccer team ended their season on November 2 in their final MPSSAA 4A South Region I Finals game against Northwestern High School with an overall record of 9-4.