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Athlete of the Week: Van Horn boys soccer competing for state title

Van Horn boys soccer
Posted at 8:07 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 00:04:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Van Horn Falcons are flying high as they advance to the final four round of the Missouri Class 3 state tournament.

“I think it’s going to take dedication, passion and not giving up at any point during the game. If they score on us, we’re going to score on you, if you run hard, we’re going to run harder, just outworking your opponent," said Jhonny Esparza de la Rosa, midfielder.

Van Horn advanced to the final four three years ago but has never taken home the trophy.

“I think the guys are ready, they’re prepared. Fitness-wise and every aspect of the game, they’re ready," said Jesus Rodriguez, head soccer coach.

The 17-7-1 Falcons will play the 23-3 Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Missouri.

If the Falcons win Friday, they advance to the championship match Saturday.

Two wins and Van Horn brings home its first state title in school history.

“We would be the first to do it, and I would love for that to happen. Having a ring and to be able to say, 'We brought our first state championship to Independence and Van Horn,' that would be such an amazing, amazing thing," said Kobe Otano, forward.

Otano leads the team with 24 goals this season. He's also the captain of the team.

Otano and Esparza de la Rosa were honored with the HyVee Athlete of the Week award for their leadership and execution on the soccer field and in the classroom.