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February 25, 2014 > Rising from the ashes

Rising from the ashes

Submitted By Pat Mapelli

The Saturday before their first regular season game Ð Saturday, December 14 - AmericanÕs girls varsity soccer team (the ShEagles) had just celebrated a 3 -2 victory over Castro Valley in a preseason game. Castro Valley is a strong team and the ShEagles were on a high. Later that evening, after all of the equipment had been safely stored in the equipment shed and the field had been locked up, the Fremont Fire Department was dispatched to a fire on the soccer field. Someone had intentionally set the girls soccer equipment shed on fire. By the time the fire department arrived, the shed and all its contents were reduced to a pile of ash and molten plastic. Every training tool, every ball, every training bib, corner flag, pug goals, etc. - including score board electronics had been lost. To call it a tragedy is an understatement.

At the beginning of MondayÕs training session, after the fire, there was an emotional sense of loss. It was talked about on campus throughout the day; a common theme, ÒWhat are you going to do?Ó Both the Junior Varsity and Varsity girlsÕ teams decided not to let this set them back, rather bring them together and make them stronger Ð which it did.

With the help and guidance from their coaches, they reached out to the community and local businesses for assistance and raised money through the sale of licorice. The community came through big time with individual donations, and local businesses like Fremont Bank and Cargill Salt stepped up to fill in the gaps. Generous donations were made by the Elks Lodge, Fremont Youth Soccer Club, and another soccer club from the Midwest. By the end of the regular season, most of what was lost had been replaced.

Through it all, the girls stayed focused on their game while at the same time doing all they could to raise funds for their teams and future teams yet to come. The Junior Varsity team finished the league season in fourth place despite being the youngest team in Mission Valley Athletic League by far. The Varsity team finished the league season in second place and made the NCS playoffs for the third time in four years. This is a great example of how determined minds can overcome just about any obstacle. You wouldnÕt wish this situation upon anyone, yet the lessons learned are invaluable.

Rising from the ashes like a Phoenix, the ShEagles soar once again! Congratulations ShEagles Ð we are all proud of you.

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