In the nearly 60 years since Staples High School fielded its first boys soccer team, some legendary athletes have laced up their boots.
Plenty more played without achieving fame. But they loved the program, made great friendships and created lifelong memories.
Inevitably, a few of those players died young.
Staples soccer embraces its past. One of the program’s goals is to make sure current players feel a link to those who came before, and become in turn great role models for those who follow. (Full disclosure: I am the head coach — and a former Staples soccer player.)
Yesterday, alumni came from as far as California. They gathered together to see a game between 2 top teams — and to help dedicate Staples soccer’s “Etched in Stone” project.
It’s a permanent memorial to members of the program who died before their time. Their names are now inscribed in the terrace, at the top of The Hill.
Kyle Martino — a 1999 graduate who played on the US men’s national team, and is now a noted NBC Sports Premier League analyst — helped organize the project. His speech yesterday emphasized the importance of the Staples soccer community; the “family” bonds that have been formed across generations, and the feeling of legacy that joins current players with past (and future) Wreckers.
After the brief ceremony, the large crowd enjoyed a crackling match. Stamford eked out a 1-0 win, in a nail-biting finish.
Then the alums took to Loeffler Field, for a classic pick-up match.
Some things never change.