Soccer Squad Explains Their Sports Superstitions


By Anna Rollins, Reporter

Believe it or not, superstitions, traditions, and rituals run our lives, and it’s no different for the Cleveland boys’ soccer team.

Eatery: In 1962, Chile’s professional soccer team would eat the national food or sip the national drink of their opponent before confronting them. They doused themselves in cheese before confronting the Swiss and won. They continued to win all of their games until the semi-finals when they cleansed themselves on solely coffee before playing Brazil and were unable to pull through. Senior Julian Lusardi of Cleveland feasts on a bagel slathered with peanut butter to prepare. “That’s me,” said Lusardi. Junior Riley Pugh can’t go without a smoothie. Game day lunchtime brings junior Eliseo Chavez to the burrito cart where he demolishes a plate of nachos.

Sounds: In the Warrior fortress, DJ Jorge Flores pumps up his team playing hits ranging from soft country to ferrous metal. A$AP Rocky, Curren$y and Mac Miller spirals sophomore Loic Baures’ head before each game. “Bass driven hyped music,” surrounds senior Evan Andrews, integrated with more spiritual music assisting him to find himself before he steps across the line. R-Kelly, Lincoln Park, Drake, J-Cole, Andiminian and other artists captivate the Warriors before go time.

Pep talk: Head coach, Scott Killen is an “emotional guy.” “He has a mantra he tells us… ‘Play quick and to feet,’ and he says it over and over and over again,” said Pugh. Each player is given his own role. For midfielder Peter Za, Killen reminds him to “ask for the ball, demand the ball, and also release it.”

Visualization: To form a mental image. “I’ll lay in my room with my headphones in and a blanket over my head,” explained Pugh. “I try to calm down and imagine [myself] doing well.” Junior goalkeeper Oliver Aguirre finds the right “mindset” in order to perform.  

Entry: The Ivory Coast national teams’ Kolo Toure must be the last player of his team to walk on the field. During one instance, Toure missed the start of the second half of the Champion League game because he insisted on his teammate to precede him. Cleveland’s sophomore Connor Dewson is not different, saying, “Every time I walk outside the field house, I always tap the ‘Be a Warrior’ sign over the door,” said Dewson. This reminds him to be, play, and win like a Warrior.

Preparation: Defender Leighton Baines of England unties and re-ties his shoelaces before every match. Cleveland freshman Alex Weiler is much alike. “I don’t tie my shoes as I warm up … . Right before I have to touch a ball for the first time, I stop and tie my shoes. I also won’t put shin guards on until right before the whistle blows,” said Weiler. He practically is Baines. Sophomore Andrew Martinez is more unique. He said, “I tape my wrists before I play. It gives me more confidence in myself.”

Prayer: Mexico’s national team’s soccer star Javier Hernandez learned from his father to pray before each game. Prior to each World Cup match, he kneels on the field, holding his hands to his chest and chants a prayer in front of thousands of his fans. Similarly, Cleveland’s Martinez performs a self-prayer before the whistle blows. “I go on my knees and have a motivational prayer/pump up,” said Martinez. Za “prays for safety, to win, and have fun.” Prior to each game he listens to Christian rock music. “The lyrics mean a lot to me … . It’s a great way for me to get focused before the game,” said Za.

Soccer is a complex, hot-blooded sport, but Loic Baures simplifies it for his team. He said, “You’ve gotta stretch, tape up the shin guards, put on your cleats, and get ready for the game.” But don’t you dare let that make you forget about the superstitions that rule our world each and everyday causing us to look, act and seem insane.