Road To Redemption


Donated by Natali Brito

Adam Abougendia, Sports Editor

  Zeros on the clock, and that was it. A year after a state championship loss in 2019, Pembroke Pines Charter boys soccer team was knocked out by Belen Jesuit in regional finals. Seniors last ride cut short, freshmen’s first heartbreak, and everything in between. Emotions were riding high and just like that, their season was over. However, a new generation of Charter ballers are here and hoping to rekindle the legacy that once was, Pembroke Pines Charter Soccer. 

   With new alumni on board to help and develop the squad, states are on the minds of all the players and staff. Junior captain Alex Champagne joined the team last year and immediately made an impact with his commanding presence and composed style of play. Champagne expressed, “Last season was truly a blur for me, it was such a fun experience. It feels great knowing that [Coaches] Marc and Nico trust me enough after one season to give me the captain armband and lead the team for the next two seasons.”

  The path back to states will not be easy for the Jaguars though, solid schools such as Cypress Bay, St. Thomas Aquines, Archbishop Mccarthy, and Cardinal Gibbons all stand in the way of success. The team was lucky enough to be invited back to the school who beat them last year for a preseason invitational where they faced off against two state championship teams, Westminster Christian and of course Belen. With a 3-1 win against Westminster to start off the preseason, Charter is now 2-0 on the season after battling out a grueling win against American Heritage Delray and a 1-0 win against Coral Glades. As the early kinks were getting worked out, Charter was very junior led. Names such as Ryan Palelis, Marko Jaric, Nicolas Velasco, and of course Alex Champagne should all be names to look out for as the season rolls on. 

  Despite the younger dynamic of the squad, there is still a very heavy senior influence present. Four year senior goalie Carlos Betancur stated “This is it for us seniors, I know it’s cliche but it’s really one last ride. We know we have the talent to do big things, it’s all about the effort we put in at this point.” With eight seniors on the roster, veteran presence is not a worry for the team going forward. Betancur elaborated, “I’m confident in our seniors but I’m also excited to see what our younger guys have in store.” 

  The Jaguars have a whole season still left ahead of them with their next game being at home against Fort Lauderdale High School. A tough set of tests are being put in place for a tough team. All the extra hours, extra sessions, and extra dedication all lead the Pembroke Pines Charter boys soccer team on the road to one thing: redemption.