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International cast, one goal
Garinger soccer is building a winning reputation
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:29 pm
by Herbert L. White

Garinger High soccer is making North Carolina take notice.

Garinger High forward Hussein Arsene, a native of Congo, leads the unbeaten Wildcats in scoring. Garinger is off to the best start in school history.

The Wildcats are off to the best start in school history at 6-0 and are determined to become part of the conversation of one of the state’s top teams. After outscoring their first five opponents 27-0, there’s a wave of excitement building over the program’s success.

“We do all this stuff for the school and to be one of the best (programs) in the state,” senior forward Jose Vanegas said.

The team has an international flavor – every player on the 19-man roster is the offspring of immigrants from Africa, Central or South America with seven countries represented. Garinger’s leading scorer, Hussein Arsene (nine goals in the first five games), is from Congo. The second-leading scorer, Tresor Mbuyu (seven goals), is from Congo. Vanegas, who scored three goals in a 6-0 win against Vance last week, is from Colombia. Goalkeeper Francisco Gonzalez, who hasn't been scored on, is from Mexico.

Said first-year coach David Garrett: “This group of guys have been working incredibly hard the whole summer. They’ve got a goal in the back of their mind for a state championship and that’s what they want to do.”

“They’re a good team, they’re well-coached, they’re well-skilled,” Vance coach Andrew Clapp said. “You get down to them early, you’re in trouble.”

The Wildcats aren’t strangers to success with five straight trips to the N.C. 4A playoffs and a 9-3 campaign last year, but they’ve made a giant leap in 2013. Garinger has dominated opponents, including traditional 3A power Hickory and is on pace for the best season in school history. The key, Garrett says, is a combination of athletic talent and academic dedication that had been lacking in previous seasons.

“Garinger’s always had the players but they didn’t believe in themselves,” he said. “They never had anybody to really devote the time that it took with grades, so we’ve poured into their academics. It’s been a boot camp for months, tutoring them every day and going to school every day and being sure they’re in class.”

The Wildcats emphasize passing and movement on offense, which diversifies scoring opportunities. Not only do they score in bunches, Garinger has gotten off quickly in games, forcing opponents to play catch-up.

“We have a really simple system and it takes every player to buy into that system,” Garrett said. “If they do, then it has success at all levels. It’s not about any one player.”

Garinger has enough talent and ambition to challenge for a spot among North Carolina’s elite. The goal now, Garrett says, is to keep building momentum.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some tough games,” Garrett said. “We’ve been fortunate. I don’t know that we’re some unstoppable team but we have played very well and I’m sure that when they conference games start, they’re going to be tougher.”

The Wildcats look forward to the challenge.

“Every team is like the better we play,” Vanegas said. “I enjoy playing and every time I get the ball it’s like something new to me because (Garrett) has been teaching us how to play soccer and how we represent our school as well. I think it’s the best thing ever.”


this is a silver lining to a well coached team. keep up the solid work!
Posted on September 7, 2013
Thanks for this fine story on an up-and-coming program!

David P. McKnight
Garinger Grad
Posted on September 5, 2013

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