The end of the season is approaching for the Chico State Men’s Soccer team along with the college careers of three seniors on the team.
Defender Servando Higuera, and midfielders Anais Mayo and Cooper Renteria are the seniors on the 2021-22 men’s soccer team.
“It hit me a couple days ago,” Renteria said. “It is my last couple weeks out here with my team.”
Their impact will be left on the program and they will be passing the torch to the remaining players.
“They have played a huge role in leading the team,” said midfielder Liam Duerksen. “I am grateful to get to play with these amazing players.”
While talking to the seniors, their teammates were walking away after their game and were cheering them on and hyping them up.
This shows how much these seniors get along with their teammates.
Team huddle during their break before OT vs. SF State
Renteria and Mayo both came to Chico State as true freshmen back in 2017, while Higuera transferred from Oxnard College to Chico State in 2019.
Even though Higuera’s time was shorter compared to the other two, he has felt at home ever since he transferred.
“The coach, teammates, the environment and the community have made my experience unique,” Higuera said. “Ever since I got here to Chico, I have felt welcome since day one.”
Something all three seniors have raved about is the lifelong connections they have been able to make while at Chico State.
“I could say everyone on the team is my friend and I like hanging out with everyone,” Mayo said.
With all the uncertainties collegiate sports come with, there has been one thing that stayed consistent for these three. That has been head coach Felipe Restrepo’s presence.
Restrepo credits how much adversity this group has gone through and how they have handled it. He said there’s a saying the team goes by and it is “men built for others” and credits how this group of seniors exemplifies this.
Renteria said the guidance that Restrepo passed along to him helped with the tough start to their season.
“To just keep going,” Renteria said. “Especially this year, it was pretty rough early on, but he told us to keep pushing because things will fall into place.”
From the winning seasons to the camaraderie with teammates, these experiences will be forever with these players. Mayo mentioned how a trip to Spain really highlights his experience at Chico State.
“The team and I went to Spain and saw Lionel Messi play,” Mayo said. “Cooper [Renteria] and I went and it was a life changing experience.”
Their leadership and their unique personalities will be missed in the locker room.
“Everyone loves being around me because I am a funny guy,” Higuera said.
Through COVID-19 and their season in 2020 being canceled, these seniors were an integral part of the Chico State Men’s Soccer program.
“They helped young guys like myself understand the gravity and importance of certain situations,” forward Miles Rice said. “They also emphasized that we need to have each other’s backs.”
Your coaches and teammates at Chico thank you Renteria, Mayo and Higuera for your contributions to this program and the impact you left on the community of Chico.
“It really stems from who they are as people, they are really good character guys,” Restrepo said. “I can’t be any more proud of them.”
Restrepo praised how these guys have been leaders on and off the field. He also mentions how grateful he is of having the opportunity to coach them.
“They will forever have a place in Chico State Men’s Soccer and have made me a better coach,” Restrepo said.
Javier Hernandez can be contacted at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.