Servite High School senior Zane Rojas has been playing soccer since he was 4 years old, and while his time in the game has been filled with memorable moments, none compare to the moment the Friars became the 2015 CIF-SS Champions, the first CIF championship for the school’s soccer program.
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“It was surreal,” says Rojas. “Finally attaining that goal was amazing.”
Having come off of a heartbreaking loss in the prior season’s semi-final game via shootout, the four-year varsity player has learned that there can be as much growth in defeat as there is in victory.
“Although we were negative about the situation after losing, we just had to realize that God had a plan for us,” says the 18-year-old.
Alongside the 2015 CIF Championship, back-to-back Trinity League titles in 2014 and 2015, and being named first team All-Trinity League in 2015, Rojas would love nothing more than to close out his final year with the Friars by defending both titles and adding that elusive state championship to the list. Servite’s varsity soccer head coach, Jon Spencer, feels that Rojas’s leadership and commitment are keys to the Friars’ recent success.
“Zane’s passion for the game is tremendous, and his dedication to winning has set a good example for the team,” says Spencer of the team’s co-captain. “He has a great work ethic and is goal-oriented, attributes he has brought to the team consistently since his freshman year. He’s matured greatly and is now a major leader on this team. We will rely on his experience to lead us.”
His commitment to the sport extends to the community, as Rojas volunteers his time with Higher Ground Youth & Family Services, a nonprofit organization that mentors at-risk youth in Anaheim and Santa Ana. Serving in the group’s youth sports program, Rojas plays soccer with kids from Anaheim, modeling through the game how commitment, positive choices and a sense of empowerment can change lives.
“Being able to play [soccer] with the little kids is amazing,” says Rojas. “Seeing the joy that soccer brings them and being able to show them what they’re able to achieve by playing soccer makes me happy.”
After graduation, the Orange resident is headed to New York where he plans to study leadership development science and play soccer for the United States Military Academy at West Point, a goal of his since he was a freshman.
Whether it’s a CIF title or the chance to play NCAA Division I soccer in college, Rojas knows he can’t achieve any of his goals on his own.
“Soccer has definitely taught me that it’s a team effort to get to the goal,” says Rojas. “Without your brothers on your left and right, you’re not going to be able to attain that goal. You have to work together as a unit.”