I'm so glad I had the opportunity to visit with the Goodwin Tech soccer team on Thursday. The kids on the team are reaching out to be appreciated. They may not compete at the same level as the Farmingtons and Wethersfields but they work just as hard and want to win just as badly.
The interaction between coaches Paul Soucy and Laura Waz, who are filling in for head coach Jerry Barner, and the kids is poignant. The players -- male and female -- hail from no less than 7 different countries. Some of them are still learning the English language but the universal languages of soccer and love break through such barriers.
I enjoyed writing up the Gladiators' 4-2 win over Grasso Tech that enabled them to qualify for the Class S tournament for the first time since 1991 (historical data courtesy of former Herald sports writer and dedicated high school sports historian Gerry deSimas Jr.). How they fare in the tournament is not nearly as important as the lessons and the love being disseminated by Soucy and Waz. While I have never met Barner, I'm sure he would be contributing more if he wasn't trying to shake off an infection that set in after foot surgery.
The team has some genuine talent in striker Pawel Siwinski and freshman midfielders Arek Wrobel and Raul Canales. Many of the others have the potential to be fine players if they heed the teachings of Soucy, who has coached soccer at Plainville, St. Thomas Aquinas and Wolcott.
I truly hope that the word passes through the student population at Goodwin that playing for the varsity team can be rewarding, great fun and a vital learning experience. Please look for the feature story I'm writing as a follow-up that should appear in Monday's paper. Whether or not you have an interest in Goodwin soccer, I urge you to read it and I think you'll enjoy it.