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JESSE LUCERO

JESSE LUCERO
Longest Serving Hispanic Player

 

My time at MFC has been one of the greatest adventures of my young life and I’m blessed to have been part of this culturally diverse organization, which I have come to call my home away from home. I consider all the coaches and players, both young and old part of my extended family. As a club, we have been through our ups and downs but when there was failure we embraced it together and with that we found success.

My first experience of MFC was several years ago when my father enrolled me in a math and soccer program at Berwyn Heights E.S. The math section was a preparatory class for the MSA. At the time I was a shy kid with limited soccer skills, plus I was experiencing difficulties in Math. 

Upon my arrival the first day of class, I could not help but notice the ball handling skills of the players. This was very intimidating and my first reaction was to go home immediately. But I recall saying to myself that I wanted to be just as good as them.  The program met twice a week, in the evenings, for three hours at a time. One and a half hours of math and one and a half hours of soccer. 

I remember sitting in the lunch room, at the tables with my dad, doing my math problems. It was mandatory for one parent to sit down with their child during each session. I was never good in math back then. But having to hand in all your homework before playing soccer was the right incentive to complete my assignments at home. After a while math became much easier. This program helped reinforced what I was learning in school. It is amazing what a little bit of practice can do. 

Two weeks prior to the beginning of the MSA, we meet every day after-school at Soccer and Friends computer lab which was located at the time, in University Gardens Apartments community room, in Hyattsville, Maryland. Three minutes from Tick Tock Liquors and ten minutes from University of Maryland. All the preparation paid off because when I received my test scores months later I was proficient in math. Not bad for a kid who did not like math.  

After the completion of the soccer and math program I became a member of MFC. I remember Coach Eugene telling me, “to get better you have to play with people that are better then you” and I never forgot that, so I would always try no matter what the outcome. 

Coach Keith, the funniest coach in the organization, taught me skills and how to juggle.  I would go home after training and practice, practice and practice: Because my mother always said practice makes perfect. I learn how to dribble with both feet. I learned how to juggle more than one hundred times. I learn all the professional soccer moves like the Maradona, and the Zindane just too new a few. And over time I just kept getting better and better. 

When it comes to motivation, Coach Martin is the man. I  recalled him saying to me on numerous occasions that, “when the going gets tuff don’t give up”, and those words keep me fighting no matter how hard it gets sometime, whether in school, on the soccer field or in everyday life. 

But the best qualities of MFC are the friendships. The friendships I developed with Sammy Kahsai and Araya Sloan will last a life time. Today we are the longest serving members in the club. We attend Northwestern HS together. We hang out together. While many players have left the program to join other teams, we are still here. No matter the distance I can truly say that we are going to be friends for life. 

This journey would not be possible without the continual support of my family. My mom and dad's constant encouragement both on and off the field were simply amazing. Their weekly drives to practice. The long road trips out of the county. Thousands of dollars spent in soccer fees, the purchase of indoor and outdoor shoes, you name it, and my parents were always there for me. For that I am truly blessed and forever thankful to them. 

In closing, I would like to thank all the coaches for teaching lessons that will last a life time. Never give up. It is always better to give than receive. You will never know until you try. Practice, practice, practice. 

To all the young children out there, I encourage you to join some type of club so you can get daily physical exercise. This will keep you off the Internet for a while and away from the social networking sites. 

As a role model for so many younger players at MFC, I often hear them say that, “I want to be like you when I grow up” to which I reply, “be better than me”. 

Thanks for the memories. It has been an amazing journey which is definitely not over. These experiences will shape my life in years to come.

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