McALESTER — Eduardo Suarez didn’t play soccer growing up in Austin, Texas. He didn’t play when he moved to McAlester before his fourth-grade year, he didn’t play in junior high and he didn’t play his freshman year at McAlester High School.
Suarez didn’t pick up soccer until he joined McAlester United’s under-16 club team in the summer before his junior year. But playing for McAlester United, he befriended then-seniors Victor Martin and Skye Edwards, and when MHS offered its first soccer season in 2013, they convinced Suarez to join.
Now a senior, Suarez is one of the first two-year boys’ soccer players in MHS history.
“I’ve liked the sport for awhile, and then when I heard that McAlester, the high school, was getting it, I got interested,” Suarez said Friday. “So I joined.”
While Suarez said he entered his junior year unfamiliar with soccer, he was no stranger to competitive athletics. He’d run cross country and track as both a freshman and sophomore, which proved beneficial to his soccer career.
“That helped me a lot with my running form,” Suarez said.
“Cross country was big (on) conditioning.”
While the Buffs won two games in 2013, so far this year they’ve managed just one win. But the Buffs weren’t in a district last season and could only play smaller schools and JV teams, and this season the Buffs have had to take on a slate of 5A district opponents.
“It’s more pressure,” Suarez said of this season.
“I feel like I work harder, and I know it pushes me to become a better athlete.”
Suarez has bounced between midfield and defense this season, playing mostly on the left wing. He said that as a midfielder, “I’m responsible for keeping the ball away from the defense and keeping it up towards the forwards.”