Senior goalkeepers provide experience for Lufkin soccer squads

Mia Lila, Jose Jaime have been playing the game for most of their lives

Natali Ovalle, Lufkin High School Student Media

Lufkin has experience in goal on both its soccer teams.

Seniors Mia Lila and Jose Jaime are both starters at the goalie position for the Lady Panthers and Panthers.

Senior Mia Lila stops the ball during a Lady Panthers soccer match this season. (Photo by LILIAM OLALDE)

Mia started playing soccer at age 4 in the Angelina Youth Soccer Association. She started playing at goalie when she joined the LHS soccer team. 

Jose started playing soccer at 8, then started playing in leagues when he was 12. He began playing as goalie for the LHS soccer team as a sophomore. 

Mia and Jose both had to try out for goalie on their Lufkin teams. Being a goalie is not a simple task, they said.

“You have no room to make an error,” Jaime said. “Anybody can lose a ball and get it back, but if you’re a goalkeeper and you miss a ball, you can’t get it back … and you take most of the blame if something bad happens. But I like it, though. It’s a job nobody else will take, and someone has to take it.”

Senior Jose Jaime dives for a ball while practicing during halftime of a Lufkin soccer match. (Photo by VICTOR LEAL/Lufkin. High School Student Media)

The students have to maintain a balance between the sport and their academic studies, or they won’t be able to play.

“I stay after school,” Mia said. “I try to do my homework during school and try to finish it, so after school I can just focus on soccer.”

Both students are also members of different clubs at LHS.

Last year, when the pandemic broke out, the 2020 soccer season came to an unexpected end.

“I was sad in the beginning, but now that I see it the way it turned out, I’m glad it happened,” Jose said. “It gave me an opportunity to better myself. It really gave me time to think, ‘For next year, what can I do better?’”

Both the girls and boys soccer teams are doing well this season, with just a few games left before the playoffs.

“I’m sad, because after this, I’m not going to play soccer anymore,” Mia said. “This is my last soccer season ever.”