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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

    Joe Emerson has connected with himself and his community through soccer


    The sound of laughter and fumbling feet echoed throughout the busy plaza. The morning light has faded giving way for locals and tourists alike to crowd the streets. It’s a lovely afternoon in the German square, perfect—a group of young boys decides—to play a game of soccer.

    They huddled together, passing the ball to one another, but there was a boy who stood out from the adolescent crowd. He’s smaller than the others—around two years old—and a foreigner whose visiting time will soon be cut short. 

    But when he returns to his home, he will carry the love and desire to play the game he discovered back with him through elementary, middle, and even high school. That is how freshman Joe Emerson found his passion for soccer. 

    “Soccer’s been an outlet for me. If there are any difficulties like struggling with school or friends I can always go to soccer,” Joe said. “It’s a physical outlet and physical activity has always helped me cope if anything is going on. It’s just a good way to reset and focus. And it’s somewhere where I’m always welcome.”

    Joe officially started playing soccer around the ages of five to six years old. He joined the local school team, and largely played for fun, like he had back in Germany. However, he was an exceptionally skilled soccer player and improved greatly over a short period.

    When he turned nine years old, Joe got good enough at soccer to try out for club soccer at the local gym. While it was different from his school team, it did provide a much more challenging setting and type of play for him, which he found extremely motivating.

    In the summer of 2023, after leaving middle school, Joe tried out for the FHC JV Soccer team. To his delight, he ended up being accepted by the program, and since then, has been more focused on improving his soccer skills to accomplish his goals.

    “One of my goals is to play varsity,” Joe said. “Then hopefully I will be able to lead the team or be a part of a successful team. One that can win a state championship.”

    For Joe, winning a state championship is something he wants to be able to accomplish in his high school career due to a certain individual: Noah Burr, who is an FHC alumnus, varsity soccer player, and former captain of the varsity soccer team. The captain was one of Joe’s biggest role models as he was beloved by the coaching staff and program for his charismatic behavior and adept skill. 

    “When he was a junior, they went all the way to the regional semi-finals, which is something we haven’t attained as a program since then,” Joe said, “If I could help lead my team to results like that [it would] mean a lot to me.”

    Noah embodied what Joe wanted to be as a soccer player, yes, but he also embodied what Joe wanted to be as a member of the team.

    “I just have a passion for soccer, I enjoy watching it, studying it, and improving. It gives me a constant goal to improve, get on a better team, and help my team succeed. That’s been my main driving force.”

    As a JV member of the team, Joe wants to get better at the sport so he can help support his team and lead them to victory. Because soccer is not about winning as an individual, but as a team. After all, the team can only be good if every team member strives to improve.

    “I just have a passion for soccer,” Joe said, “I enjoy watching it, studying it, and improving. It gives me a constant goal to improve, get on a better team, and help my team succeed. That’s been my main driving force.”

    Soccer is more than just a game, it is a community where Joe could meet new people who had the same passion and drive to improve as he did. Soccer connects the world to Joe, helping him find friends wherever he goes.

    “For me, soccer is a connection to a global community,” Joe said. “I’ve met many different people through soccer here and it also introduced me to the community when I got into high school.”

    And, in turn, that community has supported him through life’s challenges and difficulties.

    Soccer motivates Joe to be the best he can be, to take advantage of his gifts, and provides him with the support to utilize his other talents. For example, the physical strength he gets from going to practice also improves his academic strength as it provides routine and a way to reset Joe’s mind when he’s in a haze.

    “I’m motivated by taking full advantage of the gifts that I’ve been given because I’ve been given unique academic opportunities, leadership gifts,” Joe said, “so that’s one of my main motivations for trying to attain that highest level of skill I can.”

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    About the Contributor
    Ava Tilley
    Ava Tilley, Staff Writer
    Ava is a senior entering her second year writing for the Central Trend. She strives to be a passionate writer, hopelessly curious about all topics, and this year her goal is to improve the quality of her writing to be more engaging and fulfilling to the audience and her readers. Favorite Snack: Frozen raspberries, surprisingly delicious. Favorite Time to Write: Early morning, around 7-9 am Favorite Pet: I have no favorite, I love all my children equally!...(my cat)

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