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Pulido looks to fill role of lost seniors on varsity soccer

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Pulido looks to fill role of lost seniors on varsity soccer

Senior Eric Ramirez and sophomore Jonathan Pulido double-team on the opponent.

Senior Eric Ramirez and sophomore Jonathan Pulido double-team on the opponent.

Ashley Iscoa

Senior Eric Ramirez and sophomore Jonathan Pulido double-team on the opponent.

Ashley Iscoa

Ashley Iscoa

Senior Eric Ramirez and sophomore Jonathan Pulido double-team on the opponent.

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His passion for the game of soccer didn’t come from watching his favorite player fight to win the World Cup, but from simply being ball boy for his older brother’s high school team.

Junior Jonathan Pulido has been playing soccer since the age of four and still to this day, continues to compete with the varsity team.

“I would be at every single one of his games. He encouraged me to play. He made me fall in love with the game,” Pulido said. “I would be ball boy for his team and it would make me realize how much I wanted to play when I got older and possibly make it part of my future career.”

Although capturing every moment of his career is difficult, one thing that has stuck with him was the chance he got to play in a varsity game for the first time.

Securing playing time at the varsity level is never easy for anyone since you have to work for it. Pulido was a bench-warmer for five consecutive games until he finally had the chance to play.

“In those five games, I probably played a total of 20 minutes. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to play [at that point]. I remember Liam McGehee didn’t show up on time to team meeting, so Coach Rath called out my name and said, ‘You’re starting tonight,’” Pulido said. “After that, everything changed.”

Ever since that game, Pulido’s confidence has grown on and off the field. His mindset has changed and so has the amount of effort he puts in to what he does.

“If I want to do something, I have to go all in. I can’t stay one foot in and one foot out. Coach Atwell would always tell me ‘If you want to be better than your competition then you have to outwork them,’” Pulido said.

Similar to any other student athlete at a school, Pulido faces the challenge of time management between school and his sport. But he sees the worth in what he is doing. Pulido is enrolled in the Blue Ridge Scholars program and takes high level classes at HHS.

“It is kind of hard to manage school, soccer and my time. I know it is for the best though,” Pulido said. “Right now I am talking to Mary Washington coaches. My travel team has gone to a lot of showcases so I am going to be emailing coaches and hoping they show up.”

Pulido is still undecided as to what school he’ll choose, but the University of Mary Washington is a possibility. Pulido plans on visiting the school sometime in the winter.

Stepping up to a leadership role on the soccer team is one of Pulido’s main goals this season. This is especially true because the team lost many influential seniors.

“I definitely want to step into that leading role to improve the chemistry of my team because the team won’t be the same this year. A lot of players this season and next season are going to feel discouraged,” Pulido said. “They already feel like it is not going to be [as good of a] team as my freshman and sophomore year.”

He feels that he can change the mentality of his teammates because there is raw potential this upcoming season.

“I just want to encourage [my teammates] that there is more talent at HHS, especially with a lot of the newcomers that come in and kids that didn’t try out last year. If we work together and work hard, we will be better than last year,” Pulido said.

Overall, Pulido has learned multiple things about the sport, but most importantly, the purpose of the game.

“It always is a constant battle. I don’t believe that the game is about being technical or being the fastest. It is more of a mental game and staying focused instead of improving your technical ability,” Pulido said. “That does come with training and what not, but soccer is more about learning how the game works and how you should be playing on the field.”

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Pulido looks to fill role of lost seniors on varsity soccer