Up and Down Soccer Season
Exchange student from France at Vermont soccer field

Frenchman giving all in Green Mountain State

Northfield High School, located in Central Vermont, does not have a field hockey program. Gustave, who plays in a highly competitive field hockey league in his home country of France, tried out for soccer, even though he had not played the sport in four years!

Having missed preseason training sessions and the first few days of school, the 15-year-old joined the junior varsity team after Labor Day, as a midfielder. He quickly became the high scorer on the Jayvee and made many friends.

Midway through the season, the coaches felt Gustave was ready for more of a challenge, so they moved him up to the varsity team! He was so excited to be playing varsity soccer for his high school as a sophomore and couldn’t wait to prove himself! Unfortunately, five minutes into his first varsity game, Gustave was knocked down by an opponent and broke his arm, necessitating a trip to the emergency room.

In the ensuing weeks, he endured a splint, then a cast, followed by an operation, then another splint, and finally, another cast. His surgeon cleared him to play soccer again just in time for the varsity team’s second playoff game. He wrapped his cast in bubble wrap and Gorilla Tape and traveled with the team over an hour by bus to play against Milton on a rainy Saturday.

He didn’t start, but ten minutes into the game, the starting striker got hurt, so Gustave went in and played the remaining 80 minutes. I wish I could say their team won and he scored the winning goal, but sadly, the opposing team proved to be too strong for Northfield, and their season ended with a disappointing loss.

However, now that soccer season is over, Gustave is preparing for ice hockey season! Although he has never played hockey on ice before, he isn’t letting that stop him from trying. As empty-nesters, my husband and I really appreciate the positive energy Gustave has brought into our home. His “can-do” attitude and youthful enthusiasm for trying new things are contagious, and I can’t wait to see what other adventures he takes us on!

—Diana Weggler (Vermont), host mom of Gustave (France)