Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 03-27-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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14 SPORTS & RECREATION MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION other team. Brusso said that his sister had gone to La Salle and recommended the school to him; Aristizabal said that he wasn't even supposed to go to La Salle. "There was a soccer camp at La Salle called the Sting Rays," he added. "It's like two weeks right before school starts. I just talked to the coach and Jack Brusso and I man- aged to get on the team and go to school there. Thanks to soccer." For these boys, soccer is life. Both Blanco and Aristizabal come from Colombian families, and they both agreed that soccer is in everything. Some of the other Pawtucket boys who were born in 2000 and 2001, played for the Storm, and made a name for themselves include Ricardo Benitez, Jonathan Soares, Juan and Roy Barrios, Babacar Sow, Cano Morales, Max Rodriguez, and Cam Toti. Benitez went to Cumberland High, while Sow eventually transferred to La Salle from Bishop Hendricken. The Barrios twins played for Tolman High, Soares is at Davies, Toti played for Burrillville, and both Morales and Rodriguez played for St. Raphael Academy. Brusso, Aristizabal and Blanco are seniors and will be graduating from high school in a couple of months, but they had fun looking back last Saturday. "It's crazy because everybody takes their own paths once you grow up and stuff," Blanco said. "No matter what, we are still going to be close, because we grew up together. That's what I like about Pawtucket; there is diversity here and there's always going to be that bond between us. "We just grew up with each other, played with each other, and played against each other, and I just think that's a bond that's probably never going to go away." Aristizabal laughed as he told Brusso what he remembered about their first meeting on those fields. He said he remembers Brusso wearing super bright, yellow cleats. All three boys continue to play soc- cer, despite the high school season being done. Aristizabal and Brusso play for Bruno United, a club team out of Providence, where they have been for at least eight to nine years. Blanco said he will play with the Rhode Island Reds this summer to get ready for his first season at Franklin Pierce, where he plans to study physical therapy. "I've been hoping, since I was little, to become pro, but I'll have (physical therapy) as a backup, just in case the soccer path doesn't work out," Blanco said. "I hope Franklin Pierce helps me become a better soccer player and person and I get to know more people and build friendships." Brusso and Aristizabal will stay together for four more years at Wheaton College. They are both undecided with their majors, but say if they can go professional, they will. "I definitely think college is for academics number one, because obvi- ously, we can't play soccer forever, no matter if we go pro or not," Brusso said. "I would love to go pro. If col- lege is the end for me, then that's okay, because I think college is going to be the best four years of my life." Aristizabal echoed his friend's senti- ments. "Since I was little, I've always had the dream of going professional," he said. "But academics is first. It's all about the future. And if there ever is a chance I can go pro, I'll take it, but I have to make sure school comes first." Soccer shaped their young adult lives and will continue to shape it in the future. They will always have familiar faces and friends because of long ago days on the soccer field. Aristizabal and Brusso tried other sports, but eventually focused on just soccer, while Blanco has primarily played soccer. They can't imagine what their lives would be without the sport. "Without soccer, I don't know who I would be, as a person, honestly," Blanco admitted. "That's literally my whole life. School is important, but everything I do is based off soccer." Brusso added, "It's been too big a part. All of my friends are because of soccer. My whole high school experi- ence was shaped around soccer. My whole life has been 100 percent soc- cer." "I agree with Jack; if it wasn't for soccer, we wouldn't be at (McKinnon- Alves) right now or met as many people as we did," Aristizabal said. "It's been a cool experience." They remembered the pure enjoy- ment of playing their sport when they were younger and had no pressure. They will hold onto their memories of the "good old days" as gradua- tion and adulthood near, and while they look to continue their success in the future, they said they will stay in touch. "We'll probably get together every World Cup and watch it," Brusso said, as the other two laughed. SOCCER From Page 13 EIGHT STUDENT-ATHLETES FROM TOLMAN HIGH were recently hon- ored as this past winter season's Key Spirit Awards winners. Attending the awards ceremony were, from left, Tolman principal Chris Savastano, Kevin Martins of Bryant University, Justin DeCosta (boys' indoor track and field), sophomore Zachary Williams (boys' swimming), sophomore Abbie Jammeh (girls' indoor track and field), freshman Gina Carpenter (girls' swim- ming), senior Jacob Felix (wrestling), senior Julia Al-Amir (girls' basketball), senior Justin Klemanchuck (boys' bas- ketball), and Tolman athletic director Frank Laliberte. Senior Taylor Durand (cheerleading) was also recognized as a Key Spirit Awards winner. SIX STUDENT-ATHLETES FROM SHEA HIGH were recently honored as this past winter season's Key Spirit Awards winners. Attending the awards ceremony on March 14 were, from left, Kevin Martins, a graduate of Shea who is the assistant director of Intercultural Services at Bryant University, junior Anthony Acevedo (boys' swimming), junior Ezekiel Velasquez (boys' indoor track and field), freshman Eliza De Jesus (girls' indoor track and field), senior Isaiah Silva (boys' basketball), fresh- man Sami Kalahji (wrestling), senior Denesha Lomba (girls' basketball), Shea athletic director Kate Corry, and assistant principal Cristina Bianchi. Shea, Tolman honor winter season's Key Spirit Awards winners 9 Powder Hill Road (Off Rt. 123) Lincoln, RI 401-728-5903 www.RhodyRug.com Open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m. VISIT OUR FACTORY OUTLET STORE! Lynsey T. Doan, DMD Practice Limited To Endodontics Root Canal Specialist NOW ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Using advanced state of the art equipment, we perform painless root canal treatments. 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