BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – The goal as a coach was always to make an impact on the lives of his players.
Winning a state championship was just an added, and surreal, bonus.
Varsity Soccer Coach Misael Garzón and his team from May River High School won the South Carolina soccer state championships three years since starting the soccer program.
His players say this once-in-a-lifetime experience would not have happened without Garzón’s neverending support.
“I know no matter where it is, no matter who we’re playing against, I’m always going to have my team, my coach on my side. He’s always going to be there and I’ll have nothing to worry about,” said Albert Day, a May River High School senior.
Garzón and his family immigrated to the United States from Venezuela when he was a child. He grew up with a love for soccer, fueled by the passion his family expressed while watching the sport.
“The culture around the sport was great because that’s something that you can connect with random people to see joy and happiness [and] at the same time heartbreak,” said Garzón. “But it was just so worth it.”
As a child in the Lowcountry, soccer was not nearly as popular as it is now.
The goal for Garzón was to become a soccer coach so he could give back and impact young players through the sport that he loves, something he never experienced himself.
“For any immigrant that comes over, this is an opportunity for you to impact the next generation,” said Garzón, “to leave your mark in this country that gave you an opportunity to exceed what you may have thought of in your homeland.”
For many of his players, they say Garzón has taught them valuable lessons they will carry off the field too.
“If you need him to be on an hour long phone call with you, he’s always there to talk,” said Conner Golden, a May River High School senior. “He’s been on my side since I moved to the school.”
“He helps us grow as human beings and I’ve seen him take students from C average grades to getting them really motivated,” said Day.
All the accolades, trophies and medals don’t continue to push Garzón to be the best he can be for his team.
What really drives him is the opportunity to shape his players into better people by teaching them the skills soccer has taught him throughout his life.
“Seeing these kids, and the impact I can make in their lives, no matter how miniscule it is, for me, that’s what it should be all about and that’s what it is all about,” said Garzón.