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Battle in the quad

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Battle in the quad

The French Club's World Cup team poses for a picture following their First place finish.

The French Club's World Cup team poses for a picture following their First place finish.

Jack Bratset '19

The French Club's World Cup team poses for a picture following their First place finish.

Jack Bratset '19

Jack Bratset '19

The French Club's World Cup team poses for a picture following their First place finish.

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Lunch at Jesuit High School is a great time to relax and catch up with friends, but a few times each year lunch becomes something more. One of those times is in the spring for Jesuit’s World Cup soccer tournament.

Like the actual World Cup, Jesuit features teams that formed to represent different world nations. Unlike the actual World Cup, Jesuit’s teams are not truly from the respective countries, obviously; instead, the teams emerge mostly from Jesuit’s numerous heritage clubs.

This year’s lineup was no different, featuring the Patriots Club (U.S.A.), French Club, Black Student Union, Portuguese Club, Australian Club, German Club, Asian Pacific Islander Club (APIC), Guatemalan Club, Latin Club, and the La Raza Club.

The 2019 tournament kicked off on Monday, April 29, pitting La Raza against France in a close game in which France narrowly won with a goal scored in the last few seconds. The same day, Guatemala beat Portugal in a clear 6-3 victory.

The next day also started with a close game with Australia’s clash against the U.S.A resulting in a close victory for the Patriots. The second game saw the Latin Club pitted against the APIC. Despite being the underdog, the Latin Club managed to slip in two early goals to lead for most of the game, but the APIC came back to win the game 3-2.

Wednesday saw the Black Student Union face off against the German Club resulting in a victory for Germany. In the second game of the day, France and Guatemala contended with each other to the last second forcing the game into penalty kicks, and France narrowly emerged as the victor.

Thursday featured the tightest games of the tournament yet. The first game was a tight match between the U.S. and APIC, but despite relentless offense by the Islanders, the Patriots were able to slip in two goals while holding the APIC to one.

The next game saw Germany come out with two quick headers to lead over France for almost the entire game, but the French came back with a disputed goal to once again bring the game to penalty kicks. Germany narrowly missed its first kicks putting them behind the French who once again came out on top.

Friday, the day of the final, saw a large crowd of Jesuit students in dress attire gathering in the senior quad to watch France face the U.S. in what would certainly turn out to be an exciting match.

Leading up to the game, Max Schumacher ’19, a member of the Patriots Club, felt secure that his team would come out on top.

“We’re confident due to our seniority, and we feel we’ve had a good run so far in the quarterfinals and semifinals,” Max said.

The U.S.’s confidence showed at the beginning of the game as they took a lead for the first half with France struggling to tie the game up at halftime. The second half was an altogether different story for the French as they pulled ahead of the U.S. and finished off the game with a clear 7-4 victory.

Before the game, the French had also been confident of their victory, and, according to Demetri Petuskey ’20, even gotten words of encouragement from Ms. Wilson, a French teacher, that provided an extra push for the team.

“Madame Wilson, hyped us up before in French and that made us excited,” Demetri said. “That really just allowed us to not be selfish and focus more on our teamwork.”

Also expressing that the French Club had been confident before the game was Zack Nkadi ’20, who had thought that they were more than capable of standing up to the U.S..

“We knew it was going to be a challenge, but our teammates really came through,” Zack said. “Jon Fong ’20 has kind of been our coach and has been mentoring us since last year, allowing us to get some good practice in. So, I think we knew we’d win, but it was still a good game.”

The win is the French Club’s second straight World Cup title. The team mostly consists of juniors, so they hope to compete next year in order to get a third consecutive title.

For juniors and underclassmen, 2020’s tournament is sure to be every bit as gripping as this year’s. So, if you haven’t been following the World Cup yet, show up on the senior lawn next year to watch the French Club defend its title and earn a place as one of the most decorated teams in Jesuit World Cup history.

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