It’s an honor to represent your family. Even better adding your school to the equation. Some will even get to represent their city, or even state. Yet, none of these compare to putting an entire country on your back."
Mainland’s James McCloskey not only got this opportunity last year, but he will get to play for the USA National Football Team 18U against Team Ontario at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“It's an honor,” McCloskey said, “and I'm going into this year much more comfortable, because my coaches at Mainland have changed my skill level a lot.”
In a separate sport, former Flagler Palm Coast soccer standout Stanley Joseph was recently chosen to play for the Haiti National Football (soccer) Team. He made his debut with the team this past weekend.
While Joseph was playing with his current team – the University of Mary in North Dakota – fellow Haitian and former Major League Soccer player Ricardo Pierre-Louis saw him and asked if he wanted to play for the national team.
“I asked him if he thought I was good enough to play for the team,” Joseph said. “He told me he wouldn't asked, if he didn’t I could. So, he and my coaches began training me. When you have a coach like Rich Weber that’s always pushing you and making you believe you can go as far as possible, and a coach like Reggie (Monsanto) that always motivated you, everything is possible.”
What impressed me the most about these two is that they credit their coaching staff for elevating their game and putting them in the position to play on these big stages.
These two young men have experienced high-level patriotism. We’re often reminded of our patriotic personalities once we realize that our country is up against another. We don’t even have to like the sport; we simply want to be victors. But, to represent the millions who will always cheer for their flag, James McCloskey and Stanley Joseph have already won.