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Final Time on the Field

Kaleb Chism, Staff Writer

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When I was around the age of six or seven, I began to play a sport called soccer. Little did I know, I would fall in love with that game. I started my journey by playing with Code Red, a team down at the Elks field. At this time, I didn’t really know what was going on. We would just kick the ball and run wherever it went. Shortly after the Elks, I left for Collinsville Rec Soccer. This team was made up of kids from around the area. Shortly after, I decided to try out for a select team. The former Metro United was filled with some of the kids that I used to play with, and some kids I didn’t know. Metro United was the point where I realized that I wanted to play this game forever.

I would like to thank my coaches from every club for pushing me and making realize what I am capable of.”

— Kaleb Chism

Metro United kind of faded away, and as we were about to go our separate ways one of the parents stepped up and decided to make a team called Hotshots. This team was mainly, if not all, kids from Granite City. We had sponsors and even played half time at the St. Louis Steamers game. We were an amazing team, winning games left and right. We would even go to Hotshots bar and grill after.

At the age of 12 I tried out for St. Louis Scott Gallagher, and I also tried out for a team called Juventus. I ended playing for Juventus, and I didn’t know anyone on the team. To top it off, they didn’t have an age group for me, so I had to play two age groups up. That team made me the player I am today. The competitive feeling of playing against kids who were two years older than can be intimidating for some people, but I loved that feeling.

The kids went on to play high school and left me with no team. After that, Juventus switched over to Panathinaikos, a Greek team. They had more players for my age group, so I stayed there. We went to tournaments all over, were very successful, and built up good chemistry. Then, it was the end of the season, and we all went our separate ways.

Summer rolled around, and some of the kids from Granite City wanted to make a 3v3 team, so that’s what we did. We did well in the tournament, and decided to become an indoor team at the Field Sports Complex. They ended up sponsoring us, and it was a blast playing with all of them. But then, the question came up: “What are we going to do?” One of the kids played for a team called Gateway.

So then we all went to tryout and made the team and little did we know this team would be the best thing that happened in my career. We developed a tight bond, and being close like that really helped when it came to tournaments. During one tournament in Kansas we went the whole tournament undefeated, but then our coach wanted to retire from coaching and after he did we all just left and focused on high school soccer.

High School soccer was a blast between the bonding of the team and the fan. The boys who were on the team already had chemistry, and our senior year was an exciting one. Our first home game was Edwardsville and we tied them, which was a great confidence booster and then to tie Springfield was also amazing, and then a win on senior night was pretty much the icing on the cake, but we all wanted that cherry on top, which was a state title our senior year. Our first game was Pekan and we came out and dominated. Then we played Edwardsville and unfortunately came up on the short end of the stick, and then when that buzzer went off I realized that was the end of my soccer career.

So I would like to thank my coaches from every club for pushing me and making realize what I am capable of, and thank you to my teams throughout the years and making me feel like I had a family no matter where I went. And a really big thank you to my Great Grandpa Ruben Mendoza for introducing me to the sport I fell in love with and being a great role model. I wish you were here to see me say goodbye to this great sport.

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Final Time on the Field