The 500th Win


Zachary Waxali, Reporter

For 29 years, Todd Ericson has coached the boys’ varsity soccer program, mentoring hundreds of students under his leadership. This year, his thirtieth year coaching, Coach Ericson received his milestone 500th win.

“It’s a big game. It’ll be Coach Ericson’s 500th win,” Coach Ricardo Garcia told the team as they first arrived.

On Friday, Feb 1, the men’s varsity team played the Dulles Vikings. Following a tough loss to Elkins High School in the previous game, the players knew if they win, then they would have played a part in helping Ericson achieve a huge accomplishment. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the game kicked off with cheers from fans of both schools. The Dulles Stadium field was in poor condition, covered in mud and puddles from the previous night’s rain. As players slipped and slid throughout the game, Clements dominated. With an early goal scored by Daniel Sotillo, they took the lead. Another goal was scored by Ryan Namani within ten minutes of the first, but was called back due to the linesman’s decision that he was offside. The game continued and Vikings scored off of a scuffle from a breakaway. Right before halftime, Ryan Namani carried the ball from midfield, outrunning the defense to score, but like the first, the referees said the goal would not count.

At halftime with the game tied one to one, Ericson, surrounded by all 28 of his players, looked at player to player, urging them to step up and work harder to play the best game they can. With Ricardo Garcia and Dallas Killingsworth by his side, Ericson motivated his team to rally and take the game back.

The Rangers continued to battle hard, repeating attack after attack to try and score. With two minutes left in the game, Diego Banuet got fouled by the Dulles goalkeeper on a breakaway. The goalie received a red card and was ejected from the game, also awarding Clements a free kick from a spot directly outside the 18 yard box. Daniel Sotillo took the shot which deflected in, taking the lead with two minutes left in the game. The game restarted and Dulles threw all their players in their offensive half, trying to score a last minute tying goal, leaving Diego Banuet unguarded. From a defensive clear, Banuet was able to dribble the ball all the way, fake the goalkeeper, and score to end the game. The 3-1 victory was followed by a team picture in honor of Ericson’s success, and he was met with buckets of ice water when he returned to the sideline.

Ericson has had countless seasons of success over the past thirty years. In 2014, Ericson’s Varsity Men’s team were state champions, beating Coppell 3-0 in the final, and ending with a 23-2-3 season. During his thirty years coaching for Clements, Ericson’s teams have made playoffs consistently and have always finished top in the Fort Bend district.

“After the game, we are all going to stay to take a team picture with Coach and celebrate,” said Varsity Captain Diego Banuet.