Soccer seniors

Halifax County High School varsity boys soccer assistant coach Terrence Johnson (left) and head coach Mario Sadler (right) pose with seniors (from left) Malik Johnson, Jose Coronado and Nick Harris earlier this season.

For the Halifax County boys soccer team seniors, they were days away from beginning their last season on the soccer field before their season was grinded to a sudden halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The trio of seniors, Jose Coronado, Malik Harris and Nick Johnson were named captains of the 2020 Comets soccer team and were looking forward to leading their team to a successful season in their final season and that opportunity will not come to fruition for them.

Each one of the three seniors grew up playing soccer, and they began playing soccer with each other in middle school. They have continued since then, improving their game and continuing to build their bond together.

Coronado started playing soccer in elementary school and recalls some great moments throughout the years playing but his fondest memory was being able to play against a lot of friends that he grew up with in games last season. 

Coronado also said that he was looking forward to the season and even though the team lost a lot of seniors off of last year’s team, he thought the his team was going to be fine and have a great season.

Harris began playing soccer for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) when he was four years old and also played Dixie Youth baseball growing up. 

He began running cross-country for Halifax during his junior year and that helped him prepare for soccer season as well. Harris was a captain for the middle school soccer team, the JV soccer team and was named one of the captains on the varsity team this year.

Looking back Harris said that he is thankful for coach Brian Hall for always believing in his defensive ability and his ability to lead. “I am really thankful for that,” he said.

He also is thankful for his varsity soccer head coach, Mario Sadler who he says always motivated him and always kept him on his toes.

Sadler said that his heart hurts for the three seniors and was looking forward to seeing them play their final year of high school soccer.

“They have been part of the program for quite some time, and it has been great to see them develop through the years,” he said. “It’s sad that they will not be able to show off all the hard work they have put in, and they will never get the opportunity to again,” he added.

The assistant varsity coach is Terrence Johnson, and Malik Johnson credits him with helping fuel his passion for the game. Terrence is Malik’s uncle, and he brought him in and helped him get into the game of soccer.

Johnson didn’t start playing soccer until he entered middle school, but he quickly found passion for the game. Johnson also played basketball growing up and was a member of the Comets wrestling team his junior year.

Johnson also was a captain on this years soccer team and was hoping for a great season. “It was just unfortunate that the season had to come to an end like that,” Johnson said. “I was looking forward to going all out my senior year, and I finally became a captain, and I was really looking forward to that,” he added.

Johnson’s feelings are felt all across the country with the seniors that lost their seasons due to the coronavirus, but you can tell just how much this season meant to the members of the Halifax boys soccer team.

As they begin to now look forward to the future, each one of the three seniors have decided what their next step will be.

Coronado will be attending lineman school after graduation, Harris says that he will be attending Norfolk State University to major in electrical engineering, and Johnson is going to major in cyber security in college.

Harris says that he wants to help other countries that do not have electricity by helping provide it for them after he finishes college. Johnson also said that he hopes he will be able to play in an adult soccer league or some sort of club sport while at college and may even decide to try and make the team at the school he attends.

While the season may be canceled, the seniors are still hopeful to get on the field at least one more time before they all go their separate ways in the fall to have one final time together as members of the Halifax County High School soccer team.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV