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San Elizario soccer team receives warm welcome after becoming state champs

San Elizario High School held a big celebration Saturday evening.

The San Elizario High School soccer team arrived after winning the District 4-A championships Friday.

Some soccer fans showed up an hour early in anticipation of seeing their boys come out of the bus with holding the District 4-A championship trophy.

Welcomed with a shower of silly string, the team stepped off the bus to hugs from family and friends.

The team had been on and off the road in buses and hotels for nearly three weeks.

“At first it was exciting, well it’s always exciting, but we were physically tired toward the last trips,” said team captain Gerardo Valle.

“It feels cool but sometimes it’s not my home,” said player Steve Salais.

Head coach Max Sappenfield said one of the biggest challenges on the road is keeping the kids healthy.

“The road offers it’s own challenge. We have to get out every couple hours and stretch. We are always controlling what they eat, constant hydration and making sure we are putting the right nutrition in their bodies so they can be successful on the field,” Sappenfield said.

Valle said the being district champs didn’t come without dedication.

“We would practice since the off season, in the morning we would come at seven in the morning and leave at eight. We had to shower before school and doing weights and run and we would also practice in the afternoon every single day of the week and sometimes we would practice on Saturdays,” Valle said.

Eagles team goalie Salais, who didn’t allow any goals throughout the tournament, is still in awe about the whole experience.

“It’s great. I’m impressed. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t even have words to explain it,” Salais said.

Player Martin Rodriguez, who scored the winning goal, said it’s all about perseverance.

“You never give up … like just keep going and having fun,” Salais said.

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