By Diana Diaz
It’s no secret that Roaring Fork High School’s (RFHS) boys soccer team has been making local fans proud. Last season, the team won the 2021 state championship — a historical moment for this small town and one it’s safe to say will not soon be forgotten.
This year, the boy’s soccer team got to the quarter-finals and played their last game of the postseason against Liberty Common in Fort Collins. Despite the loss to Liberty, the Rams had a great season. They started their season off strong, beating neighboring Carbondale team, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 10-0. Overall, this year the Rams won 15 games and lost only three.
The first playoff game was against Bayfield, which the Rams won 5-2. Next, another win against James Irwin with a score of 3-0. Needless to say, before the final match against Liberty Common, the Rams were, yet again, on a roll.
Recently, The Sopris Sun asked a few questions of the varsity team’s head coach, Nicholas Forbes.
“I tried to instill a growth mindset in them. I want them to be intrinsically motivated to learn and grow as soccer players and as humans. They are ultimately in charge of how much they can achieve,” Forbes began.
“This team will no longer be a ‘young’ team next season and they have the ability to win a title and make their own mark on the school’s history,” he continued. “It’s just down to how much they are willing to work for it, the attitude they have toward each other and the training required.”
Forbes also told The Sopris Sun a little about himself and how he started coaching soccer. “I had just graduated from Willamette University where I had played four years of division three soccer,” he continued, “and was still playing a lot in the local indoor and outdoor leagues around the Valley.”
At the time, Cliff Colia was the Principal of RFHS and asked Forbes if he wanted to interview for the junior varsity coaching position.
“I saw it as an opportunity to be around soccer more and also explore if I liked teaching,” Forbes explained. “I now teach within the Roaring Fork School District and see myself more as a teacher and an educator than a coach when I run the Rams program and attribute the program’s success largely to that attitude.”
Seniors make up a big part of the soccer team. Most of them have been playing soccer for a long time — at least throughout high school — and will be missed when they graduate and move on to whatever comes next.
“I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work over the last four years, both the ones who got to shine on the field and the ones who put their heads down and worked hard behind the scenes to make the team better,” said Forbes.
Forbes took the interview opportunity to give some specific shoutouts. “Special recognition ought to go to these seniors though, starting with Emi Magana who had 55 goals — a record for RFHS — and 24 assists, two state final appearances and one championship title in his four years as a varsity starter. Daniel Vega was also an important part of both those final runs and scored the vital go ahead goal in last year’s semi-final,” the coach continued. “Max Brooke was a key defender…and showed great leadership and ability…And, last but not least Diego Loya who was a great goalkeeper for us this year.”
Forbes wrapped it up, “Also, a huge thank you to all of the seniors who will be moving on that didn’t get mentioned.”
Over the past four years the community has seen these players grow not just as players, but as people. Parents, mentors and friends of the team are rightfully proud of what they’ve achieved.