IRHS soccer team fills community with pride

The Indian River High School soccer team truly made a community proud with their 3-0 victory over top-ranked St. Elizabeth’s last Saturday to claim a state championship.

However, judging from responses to our updates on Facebook before the game and during, the team made many in the community proud long before that championship game was ever played. Throughout the year, according to those in the know, the players exhibited teamwork, class and togetherness. They were performing as role models for young soccer players who look up to the high school kids, and held in high regard by older members of the community who appreciated their efforts. In short, they were already deemed “special” by those who knew them.

And now you can add “legendary” to their team picture.

The Indians captured the very first DIAA Division II soccer championship since the state’s regulating body split high schools into two flights, depending on the size of their enrollment. This will make them a part of the state’s athletic history, simply by being first.

But they will also be bringing a banner to hang at Indian River High School for generations to come, symbolizing their achievement. When young players look up in 2056, they will see the banner for the 2013 state championship. When these young men gather in 20, 30 and 50 years for reunions, they will forever be linked together as state champions.

They will not be forgotten any time soon.

“It’s a great feeling,” said a Gatorade-soaked coach Steve Kilby after the game. “Since Day 1 of the pre-season, this was the objective. These guys have put in so much work, it’s amazing, and it’s paid off tonight.”

And it will most likely pay off in the future, as well.

Those who return to Indian River next season will have “been through the wars,” so to speak. When their backs are against the wall, they will be able to mentally call back on this year’s experience to trust each other, trust the coaches and trust the process.

For those who don’t return to the school next season, the lessons learned through this experience will help them in their everyday lives, as well. They set lofty goals. They achieved said lofty goals. They know that anything is attainable through hard work and perseverence.

We congratulate the 2013 Indian River High School soccer team, from players to coaches to parents to supporters. It was a great ride, and you made all of us feel pride in your efforts.