PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY)– This is the first full football season since Hurricane Florence interrupted sports all across Pender County last September. A lot of practices and games were disrupted, but we found one Heide Trask athlete from another sport who doesn’t let any adversity keep him down — Rigoberto Garcia, a true champion.
“Keeping track of all your work and juggling all these things at one time can definitely prepare you for your future,” Garcia said.
It’s a philosophy that plays well for this scholar-athlete. The senior isn’t just a standout on the soccer field.
“I guess I’m pretty versatile with academics and athletics,” Garcia said.
He is always moving forward, taking college courses and still maintaining a nearly 4.0 grade point average. Garcia has a game plan for managing it all.
“Honestly, just organization, just having a planner, keeping everything in line, making sure you know where you’re going to be at this time, when you have to turn in an assignment, what time coach Grady wants you to be at school for soccer,” Garcia said.
Last season, destruction from Hurricane Florence forced the Trask soccer team to miss several games. The damage to Garcia’s home took more than a month to repair.
“My family kind of had some tragedies, we had a tree fell on our roof,” Garica said.
That devastation came as Garcia was healing a broken heart. Just a few years earlier, he lost his beloved grandmother, who was a major influence on his life. He struggled to keep his forward motion.
“Just the challenge of playing soccer and keeping up with all my work was pretty challenging at that point,” Garcia said.
But Garcia uses those struggles to get stronger. He knows the value of hard work, and presses through the pain to reach for what he wants. His teammates and coaches take notice.
“He’s definitely one of the kids that did that, and fought through everything and did well in the class despite everything, and still practiced soccer and did a great job with that,” Heide Trask soccer coach Tyler Grady said.
Garcia also holds a part time job, working 40-hours a week in the summers, and weekends during soccer season. It’s a lot, but this humble human takes it all in stride.
“How I stay motivated is, I just look, um, to my future and I know that if I don’t put in the work now that I’m gonna have to put it in later, and I would rather put it in now,” Garcia said.
A reflection of a winner, both on and off the field. A winner with a very bright future.
One day we may be calling him “Pilot Garcia”, as he plans to go join the Air Force and then pursue his college degree.