Soccer team overcoming more than just opponents

Soccer team overcoming more than just opponents
Head Coach Antoine Mabonghot (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Head Coach Antoine Mabonghot (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The Iroquois High School's boy's soccer team might be the best high school team no one knows about.

The school is one of the most diverse in the state with 450 students in its English Second language, or ESL, program and students coming from 52 different countries.

The soccer team is a perfect sample of that with only two players born in the United States.

Head Coach Antoine Mabonghot can only name a handful of the players' home nations.

 "Guatemala, Cuba, Conga, Tanzania," he said.

Mabonghot is a refugee himself, leaving Congo for France and then eventually the U.S.

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"There was a war there and we had to leave," Mabonghot said.

Fortunately for the diverse team, soccer is a universal language, and it's one the Iroquois Raiders speak very well.

"They played soccer a lot: in the street, in the refugee camp; everywhere," Mabonghot said.

After only three wins last year, the team is now undefeated on the field. They forfeited three wins after realizing one player on the team was too old.

 Mabonghot said the team learned not just how to communicate, but how to play as a team.

"They just needed discipline," he said. "They just need theories; how to score."

Tuesday, the team was in its first game of the playoffs against Doss High School and kept its dream season alive winning on penalty kicks.

The team rushed the field, lifting up goalkeeper Zarzo Lin, of Myanmar, on their shoulders to celebrate.

"We're so happy," Lin said. "We're almost overcome with crying."

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