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Scecina soccer team's success goes beyond the scoreboard

Abe Avila (right) and his soccer teammates won the Indiana Crossroads Conference championship. Abe learned a lot about himself during a season of ups and downs.

By Cari Gallagher '93,
Athletic Assistant 

The Scecina boys soccer team captured its first IHSAA Regional title this year and a trip to the Semi-State tournament in Evansville. Along the way, the team had to learn to overcome inner conflicts and develop its own identity, said first-year head coach Jesse Purvis. 

“Soccer, just like other team sports, but more so than others in certain respects, relies on the trust and knowledge of your teammates,” said Purvis, who also chairs Scecina’s English Department. Purvis played soccer at Scecina himself. 

Soccer is called “the beautiful game,” Purvis said, because both teams have to figure out strengths and weaknesses of the opponent’s players; understand the opponent’s strategy; and look to capitalize by creating opportunities for scoring chances. 

Soccer is one of 20 IHSAA sports at Scecina. Many students compete to keep fit or for the thrill of competition. For junior Abe Avila, sports has given him so much more. 

Abe, who attended St. Philip Neri Catholic School, has developed leadership skills and learned perseverance. Perhaps most importantly he has learned to cope with and overcome adversity, said Purvis. 

During one game, Purvis pulled Abe aside because he wasn’t acting like himself. 

“He said he was upset that he wasn’t named captain,” Purvis said. “Understanding that he was more hurt than upset, I told him about the leadership qualities he possesses and how he is crucial to the strength of this team, both on and off the field. Five minutes later, he went out there and we shut the team down 4-1.” 

Another crucial moment occurred when Purvis “barked” at Abe during a practice for the Sectional tournament. 

“I told Abe that the reason any coach barks at one particular player is because the coach knows the player can perform better,” Purvis said.  The next couple of games Abe performed well.  “Truly, if it wasn’t for him, we would not have made it to Semi-State,” said Coach Purvis.  Abe also won All City and All Conference soccer honors. 

Abe, a three-time Scholar-Athlete honoree, has applied the lessons he learned playing soccer at Scecina to other aspects of his life. He has taken advantage of opportunities at Scecina and is prepared for his next steps. 

“I learned that wins and losses are always there, (and) the effort we put in dictates what we get back,” he said. 

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