Victory is sweet!: Seahawks celebrate state win
Cape Coral High School boomed with cheers from 1,600 people and music from the band as the boys’ soccer team ran into the gym Wednesday afternoon during a pep rally to welcome them back home from Tampa and congratulate them on their state championship.
Principal Eric McFee said he wanted to hold the rally to show the boys that their peers are proud of their accomplishment — a first-ever team state championship in the history of the school.
“All students have ownership in this,” he said. “Everybody at Cape High can say they are state champions.”
Once McFee was handed the microphone, he had the students join him in a chant that he began with the soccer team in Tampa — “Ole, Ole, Ole … Seahawks.” The gym echoed with the chant as the soccer team and the students joined McFee as he sang.
“You guys rock,” McFee told the team. “You are the best … Go Seahawks.”
Head coach Aldo Nardiello also spoke to the student body.
“You are the wind beneath our wings,” he told the students. “We thank you for all of your support.”
The 4A boys soccer team defeated Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee in Tampa Saturday with a 3-2 win.
McFee said that although they had between 300 and 400 fans in the stands at the game in Tampa, not everyone had the opportunity to make it, which was another reason the pep rally was so important.
Parent Karen Stone said the “vibe was unbelievable” in the stands during the game Saturday in Tampa.
Karen said she wanted to attend the rally to help cheer for her son, Nathan, while having fun dancing and chanting along with the students.
“Nathan scored the first goal to turn us around and bring us home for the win,” she said.
Her son said scoring the first goal in the second half of the game “felt pretty amazing” because it brought the team back together. The team was trailing 2-0 a few minutes into the second half.
“The confidence (in the team) boosted a lot,” Nathan said smiling once he scored the goal.
Karen said once the soccer team won the game it “brought tears of joy to my eyes.”
“I am a very proud mamma,” she said.
The junior began playing soccer when he was 5 years old, which was another reason winning the state championship meant so much to him.
“I’m happy our whole team came together and pulled it through,” Nathan said.
Nardiello “glowed” throughout the pep rally as his boys were recognized as the first team sport to win the state championship in Cape Coral High School’s history.
He shared that he is still in a “sense of disbelief” since winning the championship, along with experiencing the pure joy of his boys winning.
“The joy comes from seeing the joy of the team,” Nardiello said, adding that soccer is his boys’ “life’s love.”
“It is a moment in time they will always cherish,” he said. “Their legacy is secured.”
The season, 25-1-3, helped in preparing the team for their big game last weekend. The coach said the great competition that his team had here locally “hardened” them for the state championship game.
Thirteen juniors will be coming back for another season next year, Nathan said, which he is excited about because “keeping the team together is really good.”
Nardiello said the team is going to have to “work twice as hard if they want another one (championship).”
He explained that he could not have had such a successful year if it was not for the administration, teachers, students and his staff.
“They allowed me to focus just on the boys,” Nardiello said. “My gratitude goes to them.”
The members of the soccer team received a state championship shirt during the pep rally. The team also gave their coach a soccer ball that was signed by all the team members Wednesday afternoon.