Independence Soccer Club Seniors

Patriot seniors Jake Tyree, Jack Walton, Omar Gonzalez, Jack Hebert, Omar Arellano, Bidur Bhattarai, Jack Chernewych and Kevin Lulendo.

Omar Arellano – This senior goalkeeper has been on the Patriot soccer team for the past three years beginning as a sophomore.  Omar is a talented goalkeeper who has good reaction time in the net for Independence.  What motivates him are the coaches and most definitely his teammates.  He has a can do attitude and understands the importance of being eligible academically and how it will help get him into a good college.  The one person who has been most influential to Omar is his mom.  “Her support and hard work is much appreciated.”  His advice to fellow teammates is to never give up and always strive to win.

Omar Gonzalez – Omar is a center-back who has been on the Patriot varsity since his freshman year at Independence.  This senior usually plays a full 80 minutes in every game so he is a leader and talented player.  What motivates him are his teammates, having a good time competing during practices and games.  “I enjoy the competition,” said Omar.  His goals are to continue to improve upon his GPA so he can attend a good college in the Fall.  He currently has Garner-Webb University on his radar.  He plans to hopefully continue to play soccer and study for a career in sports.  While on the soccer field he wants to go as far as the team can accomplish in the playoffs.  He believes the team can go deep into the playoff rounds.  The most influential people in his life are his parents first and then the coaches at Indy.  His advice to teammates is to keep working hard.

Kevin Lulendo –  Kevin is a senior midfielder for the Patriots who has been a member of the varsity team for the past two seasons.  What motivates this young athlete is to achieve both individual and team accomplishments, while having a strong desire to win.  His goals this senior season is to continue to get good grades and perform well on the soccer field to get an opportunity to play in college.  After graduation Kevin plans on attending a college where he can play soccer at any level and get a good education.  His family members are his most influential people in his life.  His teammates and coaches play an important role as well.  His advice to his teammates is to play hard, be confident and play gritty.

Jack Hebert –  Jack plays an important role as an attacker center midfielder on the offensive side of the ball for the Patriots.  He is also on the swimming team at Indy, making him a two sport athlete.  He has been on the soccer varsity team for two years and three years as a swimmer.  What motives him is to be a good role model on and off the field.  “It is important for me to balance school and athletics, so I can pursue a successful career in the future,” said Jack.  His goals this year is for the Patriots to win as many games as possible and go deep into the playoffs.  At the conclusion of his senior year Jack would like to achieve the honor of class valedictorian.  After graduation, Jack plans on attending UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University and pursue a pre-med major and eventually be involved in the medical field.  The most influential person in his life is his mom, she never stops to support him and will push Jack to do his best.  His advice to teammates is to cherish the moment and make the most of the opportunity they have been given.

Bidur Bhattarai –  Bidur is a defensemen for the Patriots.  He has been a member of the varsity team since his junior year.  He is a solid defender who can apply pressure on the opponents offensive players.   What motivates him is giving maximum effort and accomplishing his mission which is to keep the opponents attackers from getting deep inside the box for shots on goal.  Academically, his goal is to finish with a higher GPA to prepare him to enter into a better college.  The people who are most influential are his family members.  His advice to teammates is to continue to work hard and never give up.

Jack Walton – Jack is a center-back for Independence and has been on the varsity soccer club since his sophomore year.  He is also a two sport student athlete who competes on the swim team.  What motivates Jack is his hunger for achievement and success.  “I just enjoy  winning in school and on the field.”  “It’s competition that motivates me to do my best.” My goal this year is to earn straight A’s academically and to win as many matches as possible while going deep into the playoffs.  After graduation, Jack plans to attend a good four year university and study computer science.  The most influential people are his parents, teachers, coaches and his strong faith in God.  His advice to teammates is to practice like it’s your last.  Practice will always transfers onto the field during a game so don’t take shortcuts.



Alejandro Prado-Mendez – Alejandro is a first year varsity player for the Patriots.  He is a midfielder and his job is to hold the middle of the field.  What motivates him is to make a contribution to the teams success.  Also, he enjoys the family atmosphere on the team.  His goals this senior year are to have a good solid GPA, become a leader on the team and play his heart out every game giving maximum effort.  After graduation he plans on attending UNC at Charlotte and become a 49er.  The most influential people are his parents and brother.  As we enter the playoffs we need to stay focused both on school and play every game like it will be our last.

Thawng Nei Thang –  Thawng is a first year player for the Patriots soccer club.  He is the back-up goalkeeper who has contributed valuable minutes in the net for Independence.  What motives him is to give his best effort in every practice and match when he gets an opportunity to play in the net.  “I want to improve and get better every day.”  His goal is to inspire and motivate his teammates so we can experience a good run in the playoffs and make others around him better.  Also, he wants to concentrate and remain focused on his studies.  He plans to attend college after graduation, however, has not determined where he will attend and his major.  The Charlotte Eagles have influenced me to pursue soccer, the coaches and players are like family.  They have helped me grow mentally and physically.  Also, my teammates and coaches at Independence have been great.  His advice is to always give it your best effort during practice and in games.




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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran’s affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.