Every year, coach Omar Osorio honors all of his players, boys and girls, with a special feast, including the traditional burgers and hot dogs, along with various cultural dishes distinctive of the multitude of cultures involved with the sport.
“This is a tradition,” said Osorio. “I do this to keep the family together. Players from as far as 10 years back come here to take part in the celebration. It’s more than just a sports program; this is a soccer fraternity.”
Graduates from 2001, such as Rossmery Gomez and Ivonne Quintero, were on hand enjoying the festivities with the current crop of players, such as Alisa Redzic, Raycine Taylor, David Torosina and Randy Carrion. It was an opportunity to impart their wisdom on a younger generation of student athletes.
“I want these kids to network with former graduates of the soccer program,” said a proud coach. “It allows the students to learn firsthand what to expect in college and beyond. In fact, one of the players earned a job at this barbecue. It’s like an unofficial fraternity. Everyone looks out for one another.”
In addition, Osorio honored his players with trophies, awarding them for their hard work and successful season.
The boys, led by Kwasi Ayisi, dominated the PSAL, going 11-0-1 on the season, looking well on their way to taking home a championship until Flushing shocked Clinton 1-0 in the second round of the playoffs.
The girls, led by Taylor and Nakea Wright, also performed exceptionally well, tying Truman for first place in the Bronx B Division with a 10-1-1 record, before losing 3-1 to HS of Teaching in the second round of the playoffs.
“I was a little disappointed,” admitted Osorio, “but we did very good this year. I just felt like we had the potential to be city champions. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out. But the program is going strong and I think we will continue to do well.”
Osorio didn’t dwell too much on the setbacks, dishing out food, enjoying a visit from past players and watching as his charges enjoyed a friendly game of soccer on the field.
“I’m proud of these kids,” he said. “I look forward to watching them grow and become successful adults. This is about more than just sports.”