International flair leads to Westside soccer success

By: Jacob Young Email
By: Jacob Young Email

Wednesday March 27, 2013

Augusta, Ga--Every year, there's plenty of attention given to the talented soccer teams in Columbia and Aiken counties. No doubt, those teams deserve the press, but one Richmond county school is making a statement this year, and they're using an international flair to do it. That being the Westside soccer team.

"We have a few Nigerians on our team. They have the fun soccer mentality. We have Mikel (Merino) from Spain and me from Germany where soccer's like, the biggest thing." said Tim Lieberknect

Westside may be the Patriots, but a melting pot approach is their key to success. With six international players and an undefeated record, there's no doubt the two are intertwined.

"We have a couple people that have never played soccer before, so they try to show them what it's like to play in Europe and play at a higher paced level." added Tyler Brabenec

It's worked. For the first time in a long time, they're ranked in the state checking in at number seven.

"It'll be interesting to see how the players respond to getting ranked and everything else. Hopefully we won't get the big head syndrome. I'll certainly do everything I can to prevent that from happening." said coach Jamie Brabernec

The team is new to this level of success, but it doesn't seem to be affecting their focus.

"I didn't even know until you told me, so it's definitely fun to talk about. It's definitely motivation, but I don't think it's really going to affect how we play." added Tyler Brabenec

The Patriots have title dreams on the pitch, but their new players have even bigger goals.

"Sometimes I'm kind of sad that soccer here is such a small sport. Nobody cares about it. We haven't lost any games, and we're number one in our region and still nobody comes out to our games." said Tim

"I wish they cared more because I think soccer is a really cool sport. There's a lot of people that could be good, but they don't try soccer because it's not big here." addied Mikel Merino

America's own rise came from a successful mix of nationalities, so maybe these Patriots can do the same.

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