West Ottawa soccer: A combination of talent and skill

Isaac Sierra

  The massive crowd shouts in approval as Lionel Messi dribbles the ball down the field. He stops it abruptly as Luis Nani pressures him. Messi fakes left and immediately touches the ball to the right and accelerates towards the goal. Nani, completely devastated, attempts to recover from Messi’s trick but fails to gain on the Barcelona forward.

   Most soccer players have  at least one brilliant trick that they have executed in a game, whether it is an amazing trick to beat a defender or an incredible defensive move. The WO Junior Varsity soccer team especially has had many incredible tricks displayed on the field.

  Frosh. Raekwon Cunningham has performed many tricks in his soccer experience. On Thursday, September 24, he scored a hat trick against Rockford and currently, he leads the JV team with the most goals. “The best move I’ve ever done was a double elastico,” Cunningham said. An elastico is a soccer trick where the player in a single touch moves the ball with the outside of the foot and chops it with the inside of the foot. Cunningham is a very talented forward and his cheeky tricks make games more interesting.

  Soph. Justin Sosa has also performed many tricks in his soccer career from incredible shots to quick dribbling tricks. However, none of these tricks compare to a goal he scored last winter: “I was dribbling down the field and then I did a rainbow over the defender. Then I went to the goal and I scored in the top corner of the goal,” Sosa said. A rainbow is a trick where the attacker flicks the ball up and over their own head and the defender’s head. It is extremely difficult to use in a game situation and only years of practice allowed Sosa to execute the trick perfectly. Sosa is a left winger and he is talented at beating his opponent using a variety of tricks.

  Soph. Roma Anderson is a returning JV player and his experience in the higher level competition is consistently displayed on the field. “The best trick I’ve ever done in a game was… I nutmegged the guy and scored the goal,” Anderson said. A nutmeg is a simple trick that simply implies kicking the ball between the defender’s legs. Although it is an extremely simple trick, it is very difficult to execute in a game type situation and Anderson perfectly timed his kick to humiliate the defender and score the goal.

  Although most soccer tricks are performed by the attacker, the defenders have a few tricks up their sleeves as well. Soph. Matthew Moraw has stopped the opposing team many times from scoring a goal by utilizing his defensive tricks. “It was obviously an offside play, but the referee let it go and I chased the guy down and slide-tackled him in the box…I stopped him from scoring,” Moraw said. A slide tackle is a defensive move where the attacker has almost completely ran past the defender, but instead of giving up, the defender slides feet first at the ball in an attempt to kick it away. Although it is often mistimed, Moraw executed his slide tackle perfectly to prevent the attacker from scoring a goal. Moraw plays left defense and his determination and unwillingness to get beat make him a very strong defender.

  The JV soccer team has plenty of tricks up their sleeves and the players are willing to use them at all costs. Currently, they are 4-0 in the OK Red and they are showing no mercy to their opponents. Next week Tuesday, September 29, they play Grand Haven at home, the only other undefeated team in the OK Red. If you want to witness some of their incredible tricks in person come out and support your Panthers!