The 2017-2018 group of varsity players brought a different complexion to the season. (Submitted photo)
I have personally been with this program since 1993 and have seen my share of wins and losses through the years. Been part of 4 Regional Finals and 3 trips to the State Final Four. Most rewarding I have been part of the lives of many young men that have worn the red and white of Immokalee HS on the soccer field. Some of them took advantage of the opportunities that soccer and academics can provide while others went on to different things. The 2017-2018 group of varsity players brought a different complexion to the season; they lost 8 very talented seniors from last year’s squad leaving only a handful of experienced players. The coaching staff went through a great deal of frustration throughout the season trying to make these boys believe in what they could accomplish as a unit without all of last year’s talent. Somehow the heart and pride of playing for Immokalee did not emerge until the last two games of the regular season. Watch out! Since then the boys are 5-0 and captured their 5th Straight District Title. No other team in South Florida has done that. We went into the district playoffs as the 4th seeded team out of a 5 team district having to play Barron Collier as an elimination game in order to make it to the semifinals. The semifinals came against Naples, a team that had only lost once all year. This game went into double overtime and we finally won it on penalty kicks. Next in line for the district title was Golden Gate, our ultimate rival and a team that had defeated us twice during the regular season. The Indians brought home the trophy once again with a hard fought 2-1 victory. The Naples and Golden Gate games exhibited the heart, pride, and the desire to win that we had lacked all year long. This was the sweetest and most rewarding Championship of my 25 years with Immokalee HS soccer. Every player whether they were on the field or on the bench played a key role in his district Championship. My congratulations to all the boys! This is not over yet though; our eyes are winning another Regional Title as we start with the Quarter Final against a very tough Cape Coral team on Wednesday, February 7.