KING CITY — Hundreds of fans and supporters recently filled the ground level and lined the balcony area of Town Square to honor King City High School’s varsity boys soccer team.
The March 11 celebration was preceded by a short parade on fire trucks, traveling from the high school to Town Square, where hundreds cheered on the young athletes for having earned the CIF NorCal Regional Division V State Championship earlier this month.
A preview of the celebration came when the team was greeted the night they returned from their 2-1 victory against Live Oak. More than 20 people were waiting in the early morning hours of March 5 at the KCHS parking lot, which Head Coach Jaime Cortes said was an amazing feeling to come back to.
“It’s amazing how a single sport can bring the community together,” Cortes said.
The Town Square ceremony featured speeches from Cortes and some of the team members, but also included speeches from KCHS Principal Michael Gray, King City Mayor Mike LeBarre, Monterey County District 3 Supervisor Chris Lopez and South Monterey County Joint Union High School District Board President Michael Gaboni.
The athletes were given certificates and heard proclamations in their honor, and left the afternoon with the community singing the KCHS fight song.
“We have made history for this town, not only winning a CCS championship in 35 years, but also winning state for the first time in the program’s history,” said Victor Narez, who was named Offensive Player of the Year as King City’s leading goal scorer.
Team captain Giovanni Alcaraz added, “It feels good knowing that we won something big for this community and something big for the school.”
Cortes said the team strategy was to take the season game-by-game and worked on getting the game plan under control early on in the season.
“When you start, you don’t expect to make it this far,” Cortes said.
He credited both the coach effort and the dedication of the team, with players wanting to attend practice and endure the many miles of lap running. The team members knowing each other for years also played a factor in their season success.
“We’ve all been playing together since we were small and we all treat each other like brothers,” Alcaraz said. “We started this year as a team and ended as a family.”
Narez said as young as age 4 and 5, the team interacted with each other at the local soccer parks and on league teams as rivals. Those players united as a single team at KCHS and pushed for the championships.
“I just think it’s crazy of how many good players and teams King City has had, but we were the first team to push through the competition and win it all,” Narez said. “We all started as rivals, but we stand here together as brothers.”
KCHS Leadership Adviser Lauren Page and Principal Gray worked together to organize the event with King City, as well as the local police and fire departments.
Leadership students helped set up the Town Square ceremony with a speaker’s podium, bench seating for the team and seating for the dignitaries. They also made posters and distributed programs.
“Just seeing the students backing up this team is really special,” Page said.
She added that it was great to finish out the school year with spirit and hoped that goodwill would carry into the next and future school years.