My name is Breon Parker and I am the sophomore goalkeeper for the Windsor High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team. As a goalkeeper, I am able to watch every play, goal, game, and even the whole season happen right in front of me. While it was just my second year on the team, it was a special year. We had a roster of 17 seniors and a starting lineup of nine seniors. This is a special group of guys, not only to the school but also to me, as they were my first friends in transferring to a new school at the beginning of my sophomore year.
From the beginning of the season, it was clear that this group had wanted to really do something with their final soccer season at Windsor High. And after a failed 2018 season, that’s exactly what we set out to do. Our first couple of games had gotten off to a rocky start with two tough losses that put us in a hole quickly, but with 14 games left to play we had to turn it up a notch and that’s exactly what we did. Two separate three-game winning streaks and a big win against Newington, not only qualified us for states but put us right where we needed to be in order to get to the “dance.”
We finished the season at 9-6-1, and as the 18 seed, we had an away game at Joel Barlow for our first round. At this point, the focus was on, but we were still having fun at practices and especially the day of the game. An early release meant we got to loosen up before the game and an expensive coach bus was the best way to carry a Windsor Soccer team that had attained the best record in over 10 years.
Before the game one of the team’s seniors, Jahkoye Lewis, came up to me and said, “Win or lose today I just want you to know we couldn’t have made it here without you.” Then we shook hands and went back to warming up, but that just reminded me that we as a team had accomplished so much and I realized that this group of guys was really something special.
Game time came and as always you get a few jitters when the ball comes your way, but as soon as I saw the Windsor fan bus pull up I knew I could settle down and play my game. Two halves of regulation time had passed and still, no one had scored. I could tell my guys were drained, but nevertheless, we weren’t ready to give up. A couple of close calls came in overtime, but we were able to hold Joel Barlow to zero and move the game into “PKs” (Penalty Kicks). This part of the game wasn’t so much about who could score the most, but which keeper could stop the most shots. Typically in games, I don’t feel much pressure, but in this situation, I felt as though the season was riding on me, but then I thought back to what my teammate had said to me earlier and I knew that no matter what happened, my team would have my back. Somewhere in the middle of the shootout, I had noticed that all the fans had moved to the closed end of the field and were watching on the fence. I didn’t notice until later, that the whole thing was being streamed on Twitter.
I remember Joel Barlow’s winning shot like I was watching my own funeral. A shot to the top left corner of the goal had gone in and I immediately saw a team of gold and black racing toward me with their hands raised and joy on their faces. Only, they weren’t racing toward me, but toward their teammate who had just won them the game. That night I don’t think I saw a dry eye on my team. But at the end of the day, I held my head high and thanked all my family, my coaches, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Cunha, the fans, and most importantly, my teammates who had become my brothers for an amazing season —and one that I’ll never forget.