State champs offer lessons in resiliency, heart

After seven games had been played in their 2015 season, the Indian River High School boys soccer team had two wins. After their last game had been played, they had themselves a state championship.

Theirs is a story of belief — in themselves, in one another, in their coaches. Despite a challenging gauntlet in the beginning of the season that featured the Indians playing against teams ranked highly, both in the state and the nation, the players on the team did not blink. They knew they had a good team. They knew they had the potential of doing something special. And then they went out and did it. For themselves.

“We weren’t trying to prove anyone else wrong,” explained goalkeeper Ian Walls. “We were trying to prove to ourselves that we could be the best in the state.”

And they proved it.

They won their division title. They won their conference championship game. They played four games in their run to a state championship and they did not yield a single goal. They dominated.

And when the final whistle blew, and the reality of their situation hit home, they celebrated — first, with each other on the field, and then on the sidelines with the Indian River fans who made the trip to offer their support.

We could talk about how the team returns 10 starters next year, and how they could potentially find themselves again battling for a state title, but that’s for next year.

Right now the entire community is celebrating the achievements of this strong-minded, talented team. And they should, too.