Miranda Making a Fast Impact as a Freshman
Special to Harbor News
There’s one aspect about playing soccer that drives Emiliano Miranda above anything else. As a freshman on the Morgan boys’ soccer team, Emiliano is excited about having an opportunity to be a leader for the Huskies. In his debut season, Emiliano is looking to lead Morgan to the latest in a long line of successful campaigns.
Originally from Ecuador, Emiliano is off to a fast start in his high school career and has been making a big impact with the Huskies during his freshman year. Playing both the forward and midfield positions, Emiliano has started some games for Morgan and has also been the first player off the bench in other contests.
With 4 goals and 2 assists, including a game-winning goal against Cromwell, Emiliano’s performance has helped Morgan achieve an overall record of 7-3-1 thus far this season. While this is only Emiliano’s first year of high school soccer, Head Coach Ross Demay thinks that he can become a dominant force in the Shoreline Conference as his career unfolds.
Emiliano moved to the United States from Ecuador two summers ago, just prior to attending 8th grade, and is still learning to speak English. As he does so, Emiliano is diving headfirst into his responsibilities with the Morgan boys’ soccer team in his freshman season.
Emiliano has been suiting up as both a central midfielder and a forward this fall. Emiliano prefers playing center mid and, even though he’s still familiarizing himself with a new language, Demay says that the freshman is serving as a solid connection for the Huskies while patrolling that position.
“He’s grasping enough to get a decent amount of time and help produce on a varsity level as a freshman,” Demay says. “That’s impressive with having that barrier right now.”
With Emiliano entrenched in Morgan’s lineup, he’s been using English keywords while his teammates use Spanish keywords on the field. When the Huskies are on a breakaway in the open field, they’ll shout “cambia” for “switch” or “solo” for “alone” or “you’ve got time.” This has become typical in-game communication for the team.
Coach Demay says that Emiliano has become more vocal and comfortable on the field as this season is progressing. As Emiliano continues to learn more English, his teammates are incorporating more Spanish into their dialogue during games.
“A lot of us started speaking Spanish keywords, so he could understand,” says Erik Barrera, a senior on the team. “Also, he understands English keywords. That’s an adjustment he’s had to make, and we had to make.”
Emiliano started playing soccer when he was 5 years old. While growing up in Ecuador, he also took up swimming and running. However, there was always something about soccer that soothed Emiliano whenever he needed it.
Emiliano always had one goal in mind on the soccer pitch—leading his team to victory. Whenever times got tough, Emiliano took solace from having the soccer ball on his foot.
“I get very emotional,” Emiliano says through an interpreter. “When I had problems or got into any arguments, all I would do is run up to another field and play by myself to get the steam off.”
Emiliano’s father, José Ruben, helped his son get started in soccer by signing him up for a youth team. He helped Emiliano train and instilled in him the importance of working toward being the best, while staying loyal to his own style of play. Emiliano’s dad would tell him, ‘Don’t follow anyone else. Just play your game and be the best.’
Since moving from Ecuador, Emiliano has been working hard to become a stronger player on the soccer field. While that is happening, he’s also had to adjust to a new beginning in a new country. It’s been a big change in culture and a big change of pace.
“Nothing’s been easy, to be honest,” says Emiliano.
Coach Demay says that Emiliano can be hard on himself if he misses a goal or is unable to complete an assist, even if that happens in a game that Morgan is dominating. However, Demay knows that type of mindset stems from the fact that Emiliano wants nothing but the best for both himself and the Huskies. Demay believes that Emiliano is going to keep getting better as he continues acclimating himself to the speed of varsity play.
“If he doesn’t play well, you can see his emotion, where he really wants to push and be the best he can be and be as good as he can be,” Demay says. “As he starts playing quicker, he’ll be even better.”
Emiliano is ambidextrous with both of his feet. Demay says that’s a rare attribute to find in a high school player and that the freshman uses it to his advantage.
“Very skillful on the ball. Quiet, but determined. And very competitive, both with himself and other teams,” says Demay of Emiliano. “He can hold very well. He can take his time on the ball, while others seem to rush it. He can still hold it and hold players off. And he can create his own space, knows how to escape.”
When Emiliano first showed up at Morgan’s practice, he was surprised, yet appreciative. As he participated in varsity tryouts, Emiliano wasn’t sure what to expect due the language difference. However, Emiliano felt right at home with the Huskies and believes that they have a lot of potential as he continues strengthening his bonds with his teammates.
“I see a team capable of winning,” Emiliano says.
Emiliano understands that his leadership role with the Huskies will only grow larger as he continues earning more minutes and sees his older teammates graduate. As one of a few freshmen with starting experience, Emiliano is determined to be ready for any scenario that requires him to step up. He just has to think about what people used to tell him back in Ecuador.
“People told me that I had the talent to do it. God gave me the gift to do it,” Emiliano says. “So, I just wanted to keep training to work on that gift.”