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Freshmen add to team dynamic, strive to improve

“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?” The locker room echoes to the tune of “Call Me Maybe” as players hone their vocal skills and make jokes with two new freshmen players, Thomas Friesen, No. 40, and Julian Castro, No. 9.

The grand debuts of these future pop stars began in the heat of June. But Castro and Friesen are not the only rising freshmen stars on the varsity team. Sage Sobrado, Timothy Melendez, Daniel Aryes, Matthew Tanaka and Slater Wade are also fellow freshmen players.

Castro finds the locker room singing experience hilarious to watch and also a good way to bond as team.

“The guys usually like to make jokes in the locker room,” Castro said. “But they also like to sing famous songs they heard on YouTube. For instance, ‘Call Me Maybe’ and other songs like it. It?s a lot of fun to join in and start singing as a team.”

Even before the locker room pop star performances; Castro always had a great love for football and a real passion for the sport.

“What made me love football and really get interested in it was the Super Bowl of 2006,” Castro said. “It was the Indianapolis Colts versus the Chicago Bears. I didn?t know much about the teams, but I thought the Bears would win. In the end, the Colts took the victory and have been my favorite team ever since.”

Castro decided in fourth grade that he wanted to join the campus peewee team, and has played football every year since then.

“I noticed in third grade that the school offered football as a sport,” Castro said. “I always loved the idea of it because football was the sport I grew up around, but I was too small at the time. When fourth grade came I bulked up a little more and started to play.”

With a twinkle in his eye and a large smile across his face, Friesen reflects on why he loves football so much.

“Football has always been my favorite sport for as long as I can remember,” Friesen said. “Its been a family sport; we all play it. My dad played football when he was in high school, that’s part of the reason why I chose to play.”

Castro has played football for many years, and throughout all those years, only one person comes to mind as his key mentor: his father.

“My entire family is pretty big on football,” Castro said. “My aunt even has a cousin who played for the Colts. But my dad has been the biggest help to me and has worked with me to help improve my skills. He would often have me run, play catch with him and swim laps in the pool.”

Castro has many fond football memories, but his favorite memory so far was his first touchdown during his first year of peewee football.

“I remember my first touchdown,” Castro said. “It was my first year of peewees. I was playing the left wide receiver. As soon as the ball was snapped, I turned to face the quarterback. He threw me a perfect pass and I started flying. I followed my blockers until I was too fast to be caught. My teammates later told me it was around a 50-yard touchdown.”

While football can be a wonderful team experience, it is also a physically demanding sport, which sometimes results in personal injury. Friesen knows first hand of these consequences.

“I sprained my left arm at football practice a few days ago,” said Friesen, “I should be back to playing in about a week though. It?s tough being a freshman on the varsity team. The other players are a lot bigger than us freshmen. During your freshman year you usually play JV, but for us we started at varsity.”

In light of these challenges, senior Grant Flamming recognizes the strength?s of the new freshmen. He also offers some advice to his teammates, encouraging them to work hard on the field.

“I think the new freshmen are really cool,” Flamming said. “I think they were probably better then I was when I was a freshman. They?re learning at a really fast pace. That?s probably because they have to keep up with the seniors on the team, but they?re keeping up pretty good. Freshmen, listen to the seniors; you don?t know everything. Remember, you?re a freshman, and you have to earn your respect on the team. It?s not given to you.”

Head football coach, and Athletic Director Mick Fuller, after careful observation of these two freshman?s characters, foresees that they will become capable leaders.

“They demonstrate excellent attitudes, and are highly motivated to succeed,” Fuller said. “They both have great enthusiasm for the sport and for their teammates. Thomas is somewhat quiet and intense. Julian is more talkative, but is also very focused on learning and improving. Both boys get a long well with their teammates and coaches. Thomas and Julian will be team leaders within a year or so because of the quality of their characters and their obvious commitment to the team, the game, the school and their savior.”

FC football players have their first home game on Sept. 13 at the FC stadium. Support the Eagles as they fend off against Vacaville Christian High School, beginning at 7 p.m.

For more sports, read the Sept. 9 article, Cross country sports shorts: Highlander Invitational.

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