On a rainy day outside the STEM Academy at Showalter in Chester, Pa,, the result didn't matter as the beautiful game returned to Chester High School for the first time in 30 years.
The athletes of Chester High School's junior varsity team started the day off with a pep rally surrounded by their peers ahead of their first home match of 2019. As the Clipper cheerleaders upped the energy, students grew more and more excited for the big game. The athletes themselves just took in the moment: The big day was finally here.
“We’re really terrifically excited about this team and it’s always great to see something come to fruition,” Chester Upland superintendent of schools Dr. Juan Baughn said. “We’re tremendously excited about this and looking forward to many years of this wonderful relationship with the Union. We’ve got a field, a team, uniforms and it is incredibly important our relationship with Philadelphia Union. The Union are a part of the community as is the Chester Upland School District, and it shows when you come together you can get some incredible things done and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Even before the first kick, the atmosphere wasn't one you'd see for a typical soccer game. Wearing brand new kits courtesy of adidas and Power Home Remodeling, the Clippers took to the grounds through orange and blue smoke as members of the Philadelphia Union do prior to a Major League Soccer contest.
"Soccer means a lot to me because growing up I used to always play soccer when I lived in Haiti and when I came to Chester there wasn’t soccer," Chris Massena said before the match. "When I heard we were getting a soccer team, I had to come and join the team. I get to be a part of something special and we get to make history."
While the match started off slowly for the Clippers, Massena made history with his first half goal off a set piece. With a play drawn up on the training fields, Massena fought for a cleared ball inside the penalty box and won possession before firing a shot through the defense and into the back of the net. Soccer -- and the joy it can bring -- was truly back for Chester High School. The scoring was finished off for the Clippers by Ibrahim Kamara, who converted from the penalty spot just before half time.
Set piece magic!! Chester with their first home goal! pic.twitter.com/qgMRUk1Jb9— X - Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) October 22, 2019