Santiago Leads Team by Example

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Santiago Leads Team by Example

Sophia Lewis-Mussa

Sophia Lewis-Mussa

Sophia Lewis-Mussa

Lauren Efron, Staff Writer

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Senior Paolo Santiago is a passionate athlete with a bright future ahead of him. In his final year of high school, Santiago is aiming to give maximum effort to his sport through his athleticism, leadership, and drive.

   Soccer has been ingrained in Santiago’s life since a young age. “Growing up in the area I lived in, soccer was pretty much the only thing we did. It was also just a great way for me to make new friends and get some exercise,” said Santiago. He has played defender ever since he can remember. Santiago “hit his growth spurt early” and as a result of that, soon became the biggest kid on his team. Naturally, he was put at center back and has played defense ever since.

   “He is a solid defender. He possesses great ball skills and the ability to play out of the back under pressure. He is a great competitor with a strong work ethic. He is a smart player that understands the game and wants to improve each day,” said Head Coach Chris Tolles.

   Santiago’s defensive position has allowed him to be involved with his teammates on the field. “[My role as a defender] has taught me to be a leader, because other than the goalkeeper, I see pretty much the entire field and everything in front of me. This taught me how to be verbal and communicate to my teammates,” said Santiago. His leadership has not gone unnoticed. “Paolo is a leader by example. He is not so much a verbal leader, but when he speaks, his teammates listen. His teammates respect him and look for his on-field leadership,” commented Tolles.

Santiago’s model captainship is appreciated by his teammates, as it allows the team to efficiently work together. “He and I have only known each other for a short period of time. However, we have learned to play fantastically with one another, leading our team from the back,” said Senior Alex Densert. “As a teammate, he is a great leader. He motivates the team to work harder and to want it more. His work ethic rubs off on all of the other boys and by his example it drives us to match his intensity,” said Sophomore Jack Amos.

   In addition to great leadership qualities, Santiago has a strong passion and drive when it comes to soccer. His strive to become a better player and consistently improve his skills while maintaining a good attitude is what will set Santiago ahead of most other players as his soccer career progresses. “He is extremely passionate about the sport of soccer. He is always the first one at training and always works hard during practice,” said Tolles.

  Santiago plans to continue his soccer career beyond the high school level, receiving offers from institutions such as Sage Creek College, University of Saint Katherine, and Soka University.

   Overall, soccer has impacted Santiago’s life in an extremely positive way. He has consistently shown how passionate he is about the sport and hopes to have a future in it. He encourages others to work hard to achieve all their goals.

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