As the year comes to a close, I feel it’s only natural to reflect on the experiences that have occurred. On a personal level, completing my freshman year fills me with a sense of shock – it’s gone so fast – and almost a sense of dread at becoming a sophomore. For me, one of the biggest transitions will be saying goodbye to all the wonderful seniors who’ve made my first two semesters in San Antonio so great. There really are too many to list by name, so I thought I’d focus on one group particularly close to my heart: The graduating soccer seniors.

Apologies if this seems self-indulgent, but I wanted to take some time here and say a few words about these guys as they leave us to move on to bigger and better things.

Darren McAfee, Trinity’s first ever albino player, led by example, running so much that he shrunk four inches during the season due to wearing away his legs. His Coach McGinlay outfit and impression is so good that I’m almost suspicious that he may have been taking personal tutoring for the role. With the heart of a lion and enough drive to move an 18-wheeler truck, Darren was the key midfield cog in both our offensive and defensive units.

We were lucky enough to have a Norse God playing with us this year as Thor brought his hammer, and his long throw, to the Paul McGinlay soccer field. Cutting an imposing figure, his immaculate award-winning hair always tied up in a ponytail, Thor terrified opponents and was loved by teammates in equal measure. Off the field, Thor had an alter ego, known as “Jeff Hayes,” who was one of the most caring and loveable humans you could ever meet. Great disguise.

Brian Hines was the team’s senior center forward and powerhouse. Brian can be summed up by the fact the he created his own Rastafarian Emoji for one of our parties in response to the fact that there are supposedly no black emojis. Brian was always looking to have fun, with his pre-season photo exhibited with his wonderful smile causing laughs at all times. UIW certainly won’t forget Brian in a hurry, as he tore their defense to shreds. And never challenge him to a danceoff. You’ll lose.

Sean Canterella is honestly an international man of mystery. He would disappear for weeks on end, and then suddenly just reappear, making a last-ditch tackle to save us from conceding a goal. He makes an exceptional Danny from “Grease,” owning to his ability to look fantastic in tight black leather trousers. A true gent, Sean’s tenacity and happy spirit will be sorely missed.

Yuri Ribeiro, our Brazilian wizard, has more skill in his little finger than the majority of the other SCAC teams do as a whole. I will always be proud of the first time I tackled him and came away with the ball. It only happened once, mainly due to the fact that Yuri could nutmeg a mermaid and left me traumatised many a time as I attempted to untangle my legs after he’d dribbled past me and scored from 30 yards.

Ben Anderson is the true award winner of the senior class, with fashion designer Hugo Boss calling him “a revolutionary and the best- dressed man in America.” Kind, friendly and with enough European charm to melt stone, Ben’s smile always lit up the pitch and many a lady’s heart. Ben is destined for success in whatever he seeks to do, and his wonderful positive manner left everyone with nothing but the utmost respect for our very own “Italian Stallion.”

Alexander “Don’t call me Alex” Saadi was born in an offside position. A rabid arsenal fan, Saadi always provided the group with sensible, intelligent football analysis along with highly offensive comments about their opposition. Saadi is the master of the catchphrase, with his laugh (“hehehe”) and “oooh yeeeeeeh” accompanying his very own chant of “Saadi Sucks” leading him into Eddy Ho levels of team infamy.

MJ Kawamoto made huge improvements this year, leading to a general sense of outrage when he was criminally overlooked for the “Most Improved” award at BOTH the team banquet and the student athlete banquet. MJ also has to be commended for taking an unbelievable amount of teasing from his boyfriend, Saadi, as they constantly battered each other with racial slurs (Japan v Jordan) and North London Derby banter (Arsenal v. Tottenham). #DareToSaadiAndMJ.

Raz Forsten graduated in December, at the age of 32 (yes, he’s apparently been here that long). Standing at just 4’3” tall, Raz never let his lack of height, or uncanny resemblance to a pixie, stand in the way of competing at the highest level. Raz speaks about thirteen different languages, making him a big part of welcoming the international players into the squad. Raz was a brilliant player on the ball and a great person off the field.

I wanted, in some small way, give a sendoff to nine of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and this was the only platform I really had. Sorry if this has bored you, but I felt it was important to acknowledge the people who had a huge hand in me settling here at Trinity and feeling like a part of the soccer team. I know I speak for the entire squad when I say you’ll all be dearly missed.

But that’s really what has set this year at Trinity apart. The people here are just so incredible. You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse group of students than we have here, but everyone gets along and makes this place special. Without the students, a university is nothing, and it’s a credit to us that we are able to make this place so great in so many different ways.