An Olympian In The Making

Photo courtesy of Mia Martinez

Photo courtesy of Mia Martinez

Mia Martinez, FCHS Journalist

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Most high school students like to take part in sports recreationally, but at least one Fluco plays in the hopes of, one day, becoming a professional. Zachary Fontenot has been playing soccer for over a decade, and he is only a freshman. He was introduced to soccer by his mother’s friend after tiring of baseball at age four.

In 2009, when he was six, Fontenot joined his first team team with Fluvanna Youth Soccer Association (FYSA). Despite the fact Fontenot does not play for FYSA anymore, he credits his passion for the sport from being goalkeeper while playing for their team. While watching professional soccer and playing for FYSA, he learned about his role model, Tim Howard. “Tim Howard grew up in a rough neighborhood, but he managed to become an academy player and made it to the pro scene. So that just means a lot to me,” Fontenot said.

What first interested him about soccer was how fun it looked. The more Fontenot played the more in love he fell with the sport. He enjoys that soccer keeps him in shape and even after so many years he still finds it entertaining. Fontenot appreciates the social skills he has learned while playing a team sport. It has given him an outlet to channel his emotions while participating in an activity he loves. There is never a dull moment in soccer, especially from the goalie’s perspective. “Playing soccer is a lot of fun, and being a goalkeeper is very interesting, let’s just say that” Fontenot said.

Currently, Fontenot is on the FCHS junior varsity soccer team and is enrolled in the Olympic Development Program (ODP). This program helps train remarkable high school athletes to enhance the likelihood of becoming future Olympians. Although Fontenot likes the closeness of the JV team and spending time with his friends, he prefers ODP because it challenges his skills. Just last semester, Fontenot toured France and Bordeaux with ODP to play four international games. His team won two, tied one, and lost one. For the next tournament, he would like to go to either England or Germany to compete against other international teams. In the next few years, Fontenot aims to make the boys’ varsity team at the high school while continuing to train with ODP.

While soccer is Fontenot’s favorite sport, there are some downsides. “The refs are the worst part. There can be good refs, but most of them are bad. Just this past weekend, we lost a tournament because of a ref,” said Fontenot.

On March 18, Fontenot played the first game of the season as starting goalie. The junior varsity team won against Waynesboro with a score of 1-0. He feels confident that the JV team will continue to be successful for the entirety of the season.  In the future, Fontenot hopes to become a professional soccer player. If he is unable to play professionally, he would like to play for a college team, preferably at UVA.