Crossing Boundaries: Soccer Unites Students from Different High Schools
Campbell, a sophomore at Eastern, is allowed to compete for Wall’s soccer team because Eastern doesn’t have their own team / Credits: Mira Hsu
This year, three students from Eastern High School in northeast DC have chosen to don black and white and join Walls soccer teams. Maria Payan, Lucas Campbell, and Mieke Reil are three talented individuals who have chosen an unconventional path by playing for a different school’s sports teams. But what led them to this decision, and why did they pick Walls out of all DCPS teams?
Payan, a freshman at Eastern, said she chose Walls because she had previous experience playing with Walls students in a summer league. She knew that Walls had a good team that could help her improve her soccer skills. But her decision was not solely based on the team’s soccer prowess, but also on the sense of camaraderie she found among the players. “I chose Walls because I had fun practicing with them and playing in the summer league,” she said, “they were just great people to be around, [and] compared to other schools, I felt welcomed.”
Reil, a junior and a German foreign exchange student, offered her perspective: “I chose Walls because somebody recommended them to me, saying they’re a great team which turned out to be the truth.” She has found Walls to be an excellent way to improve her skills while enjoying the company of her teammates. She added that the consistency of the extra practices and games with Walls has helped her to improve her game much faster.
Campbell also emphasized the importance of high school soccer in his life. For all three students, Walls soccer has not only offered a chance to enhance their skills but also a community they felt connected to.
Furthermore, the inclusion of these students from Eastern has undoubtedly had a positive impact on Walls soccer teams. Simone Meltzer, a freshman on the girls’ team at Walls, shared her thoughts on how Payan and Reil contribute to the team’s dynamics. “Having Ma ria and Mieke on the team has been fantastic. They bring unique skills and perspectives, which have made our team stronger.”
Playing for a different high school does come with its set of challenges. Payan expressed difficulties in maintaining her schedule, saying, “an obstacle for me would probably be arriving to practice on time because I have a routine after school, and sometimes it can become a little hectic.” She added that another issue was missing class, but that “a lot of people can relate to that.” Reil, on the other hand, found the logistics of practice and games relatively easy to handle, given the proximity of RFK fields to Eastern High School.
“Getting to practice is luckily very easy for me and us Eastern players in general since we practice at the RFK fields, which are only a ten-minute walk away from school.” The benefits of having players from different schools extend beyond the soccer field. Walls has witnessed the formation of a diverse and united soccer community, where the students defy the confines of their individual high schools and come together out of shared love for the sport.