Emmaus boys soccer breaks 800th win


Members of the EHS boys soccer team huddle on the field before the Pleasant Valley game on Sept. 9. Photo by Alice Adams.

Lauren Riazzi, Sports Editor

This previously ran in our September 2022 print issue.

The Emmaus High School boys soccer team made history Friday, Sept. 9, when they took the field against Pleasant Valley, winning 1-0 and becoming the seventh program in Pennsylvania to achieve 800 wins. 

The program gained its foundation in 1968 and has since added multiple awards to its shelf, the first of which was a District XI championship in 1979, followed by its league title in 1981. 2000 proved to be the program’s most successful season as they added EPC, District XI, and PIAA finalist titles to a growing list. 

With history made early in the season, the team looks to continue their success in winning their fourth district title in a row – a feat never accomplished in District XI. 

John Cari, a teacher and former student, played on the 1987 and 1988 championship teams at EHS and has served as assistant and now head coach. As a result, Cari has seen the program in a multitude of elements, creating a unique perspective for him to watch the 800th win. 

“It’s neat to see,” Cari said. “I’ve been a part of it for a long time, and there [have] been so many kids, and some other coaches have been involved to help make this happen, and it’s a great testament to the really strong program that we’ve built. 

“I’m very happy [about] it. I’m proud of everyone who’s been involved [and] it’s something everyone should celebrate, not just our local guys,” Cari said. 

East Penn School District Athletic Director Rebecca George has watched the team carry on their success since she started in her role and notes the developments the team makes each year and their ability to sustain success and adjust every season. 

“ … A lot of programs will worry about losing their starters,” George said. “ …but Coach Cari has been able to fulfill those positions. So that’s the most interesting thing for me to watch, since the time that I’ve been here, is just how they’ve been able to maintain stability and [be] highly competitive year after year.” 

Seniors Ryan Latchford and Aivan Delgado take pride in their team and the fact that they were able to be a part of such a historic moment for the program. 

“It’s really just an honor to be able to play for the Emmaus name,” Delgado said. 

The team has overcome a variety of challenges over the last four years but has managed to stay positive and continuously work towards this milestone. 

“It takes a lot of will, especially with what we had over COVID and stuff,” Delgado said. “We’ve had a lot of challenges, with just wanting to come out and play, and we bring it every single game every single year.” 

Latchford attributes much of the success over his last four years on the team to the chemistry between its members and the fact that they understand one another so well. 

“We’ve been able to build [chemistry] with these guys, not even through the four years we’ve been here, but since the time we were little,” Latchford said. “We’re playing well right now and we just want to keep that up.” 

Although the team encountered some minor turbulence in their 800th win, they have the time necessary to make the proper adjustments prior to District and EPC championships. “We’re not going to win any championships within the first few weeks of the season, so we just need to keep building off what we’ve done so far,” Latchford said.  

“There’s some bright spots, but we have to clean it up, both mentally and physically. And hopefully at the end of the year, we’re exactly where we want to be,” Latchford said. 

Each game is a learning experience for the team, and they acknowledge their weaknesses in each game, using that to fuel their development. 

“We work every day to get better and that’s the key,” Cari said. “We really try to peak at the right time and make sure we’re healthy. 

“We learn every day. And [grow] even when we win 4-0,” he said. 

A key takeaway from this game for Delgado is the importance of being in the right mindset as the team takes the field. 

“I feel [that] we lose focus at times, off the field and on the field,” Delgado said. 

Focusing and staying in the right mindset throughout games is key as the team continues to work through their growing pains and progress throughout the season. 

What makes Emmaus’ win all the more impressive is the time in which they have achieved this accomplishment, fulfilling a sense of gratification in the team, along with the EHS community. 

“It’s just [the] longevity that we’ve found success,” Cari said. “…The other teams that have done it have been around much longer than we have. Like Frankford in Philadelphia is an old, old high school; Liberty’s up there too.”

“… Our program started in ‘68, these schools maybe started [in] the [19]20’s and [19]30’s,” he said. “So for us to jump up this high, that’s pretty awesome.”