When I first stepped off the plane from England, I was scared and worried. The uncertainty that was before me was one that I had not known before. I never thought that I would have the best two years of my life. In 2014 I joined Cinco Ranch High School as a junior. When I first entered the school, the size of it blew my mind. Culturally, going from a small school in England with a size of 500 children to a school of 3,200 scared me, and so did the thought that I was an outsider trying to fit in, but I was wrong. Everyone I met was so welcoming: the teaching staff, the pupils and more importantly the soccer team.
The first thing that drew me towards going to Cinco was the strong reputation for its successful soccer program. Soccer in England was my passion, I was quite apprehensive to try out, but when November came I tried out and was honored to make the varsity team. The squad was full of talented individuals, and much to my own surprise, I found myself starting most games in the center of midfield. I was welcomed by the team instantly and began to make strong bonds with teammates, a group that I saw as my brothers. It was a very successful season, every game we wore the Cinco jersey with pride and were able to get the results we needed. Despite tough times when games drew close, the hard work and leadership saw us go to penalties on two separate occasions. The determination and skill shown by the team lead us further and further into the playoffs. We made it through the playoffs with a perfect record of no losses and were set to go to state. It was one of the best experiences of my life; to know we had gone from more than 100 teams in Texas to the final 4 was mind blowing.
Travelling to state and staying together was an unforgettable experience, bringing the team closer and leaving long lasting memories. We successfully made it to the state final against a difficult Brownsville Rivera team, sadly we lost. Tears filled my eyes but I was so proud of our achievements, to come this far was a great experience and even though we lost, it was the best season I had ever had as a player. The season came to an end, and it was devastating to say goodbye to my first true friends I had made in America, but I will never forget our final goodbye and the words they said “Take it all the way next year, make us proud”.
This year, a tough off-season began and we knew we had to fight and come together in order to be successful once again. We lost some key players, but talent and the strong bond between players still remained. We fought hard through preseason with minimal ties and loses, it wasn’t a perfect season as it was last year. Unfortunately we finished district at a slight low with two losses and a second place finish. However, this motivated us to work harder. The team responded well when the playoffs came this year, the hunger and passion to go further and to complete what we failed to do last year has driven us to where we are now. We battled against two tough teams of Seven Lakes and Northshore to send us to the regional final versus Elsik. Despite tiredness the team gave it their all throughout the game. I was honored to head in the winning goal with 15 minutes to play and I knew we could hold on. The feeling of making it to the State tournament for the second time was extraordinary, we had created history, and we were the first boys’ team in Katy ISD to make it back to back to state. It was a wonderful achievement.
I am proud to say that I have had the best two years in my life as part of the Cinco Ranch Soccer Program, I have made long lasting friends and memories I will never forget. I have to add that we could not have done it without an amazing coach. Coach Whitfield has been the best coach I have ever worked with. His desire to win, his intelligence to help us become better individuals, both on and off the field, and finally his kind heart helped us be the successful squad we are today. The close bond he formed with each and every one of his players helped us find success on the field and off. It will be sad to say goodbye to a coach that has had such an impact on my life, but I know he will continue to bring success to the program.
In conjunction, the support from both the pupils and the community has been fantastic, to look up at a filled stand is what drives us to win, not only us, but for the school. As state draws closer, I know that win or lose it has been a phenomenal experience, and I wouldn’t want to spend it with any other team. I am proud to have played soccer for Cinco Ranch High School, and I have for sure lived my American Dream.
Brady Johnston, Senior CRHS
Note: Brady and our Cinco Ranch Boys' Soccer team played a phenomenal state semifinal match again an undefeated and eventual state champion Coppell team, but came up short in a 1-0 defeat. Both boys' and girls' soccer teams had incredible seasons, and we are extremely proud of them all!