When it comes to playing soccer, years on the pitch have taught Graham Parton a multitude of life lessons that he feels can be summarized into one thought.
“Hard work and faith together will take you places you can’t even imagine,” says Parton. “I know God is on my side, fighting for me in whatever I do.”
The JSerra Catholic High School senior plays primarily as a forward for the Lions and approaches the game daily with that same mentality.
“I’m on the front lines,” says Parton. “I enjoy…[being] able to help the team and score goals when necessary. That’s why I like to play that position best.”
Parton’s love for the sport extends to his teammates, as the two-year varsity player is also a captain on the team, a role he feels comes with great responsibility.
“I really try to be a leader to other players on the team, no matter what age level they are,” says the 18-year-old. “I think the way that I lead best is by example…[but] there are times that I come out and act as a vocal leader for our team. It depends on the situation. But I find it an honor to be the captain.”
JSerra’s boys soccer head coach, Erik Kirsch, sees how Parton has translated his leadership into becoming a model student athlete for the Lions.
“Graham is leader on and off the field,” says Kirsch. “He brings intensity and hard work both to his training and to each game. He represents the five pillars this program is built on—integrity, respect, excellence, community and tradition. It’s our prayer that more student athletes such as Graham come through this school and program in the future.”
Parton admits his struggles with the game are mostly of the physical nature, as he continues to fight lingering stress fractures in his back from his football playing days. But the injury serves as motivation.
“It’s just one thing that I’ve noticed that has motivated me personally to keep on going and not let it hold me back,” says Parton.
Away from the game, Parton serves his community through the teen volunteer organization, Lion’s Heart, alongside holding down a part time job at a local restaurant. The Coto de Caza resident plans to continue to play soccer, whether it’s for a college team or through an intramural club, and knows that the support of his parents, as well as his faith, will help guide him on the road ahead.
“My parents are my biggest role models for me,” says Parton. “They have taught me the key to success in life, which I think is hard work, along with faith in God. If you work hard at everything you do, and you trust that God is going to help you in everything that you do, you can’t be stopped.”