Thursday, May 9, 2019

Last Game

Today was Joel's final game as a Springville Red Devil. It was a beautiful afternoon for the 14 seniors to play their last game. They beat rival Maple Mountain 4-1. The team finished 3-6-1 in region competition which is a step up from last year's team which didn't win a game. Joel had spent that last 3 1/2 days sick in bed (and couch) but he rose for the occasion, buoyed up by ibuprofen and a strong desire to enjoy his final competitive soccer game.

Before the game began the seniors were honored with a poster (I took all of the photos), a treat bag, a gift bag (all three from parents) and a Red Devil blanket from the coaches.

 Coach Shulzke

Assistant coach MIike Cutler who was also Joel's Utah Storm soccer coach for many years. Parents with honored with flowers.


 Joel's most devoted fan.

Starting line up--all seniors.

 End of the game, season and competitive soccer career.

 Many of the boys on the two teams grew up playing together on the same club soccer teams.

A few more photos of Joel this season.  I don't have photos of all of the games--many were very cold and rainy.

 Playing against Wasatch High in beautiful Heber Valley.

Send me the ball. A frequent gesture.

 At Maple Mountain High in beautiful Utah Valley.

 Pre-season game against Spanish Fork High

 Favorite stance.

After the game he came home to open his mission call.

 Pre-season game against Pineview High from St. George (played at Provo High). March 9th.

 Oops, hand ball.


 Corner kick against Timpanogos High.

A second corner kick from Joel was a winner. It was placed just right so Hondo (in the air) could head it in for a goal--which he is watching it do. 

 At Skyridge High in Lehi.

 May 3rd game against Provo High.

Not so favorite referee.


 This collision hurt.

At least it was not a third concussion from playing soccer. 

Joel, it has been a pleasure watching you play soccer all these years. I love your passion for the game. I love how it makes you happy. I love how you have persevered through concussions, cold rainy games, and too many losses. I appreciate how you have rolled with the punches and developed new skills for new positions. You have a knack for knowing just where the ball is and getting it where it needs go. I do not see this as the end of soccer for you. I imagine you will find opportunities for some fun street ball in Ghana and then later in life I can see you serving as a most excellent youth soccer coach. Your children will be blessed to have a father (unlike your father) who grew up with the game, knows its ins and outs, and can play it with great skill.

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