High School Athletes Honored by Sporting KC Captain Matt Besler and Goodcents
#GoodSportKC honorees chosen for character, resilience, passion
October 14, 2020 // Franchising.com // DE SOTO, Kan. - A high school soccer player who lingers after games to clean the field. A wrestler who breaks barriers by being the first high school woman in her sport. A three-sport champion who mentors young athletes.
These are three of the 10 Kansas City-metro area high school athletes selected as Good Sports, an initiative aimed at honoring students whose character and work ethic shine on and off the field -- and who have persevered in spite of the pandemic. Goodcents, a KC based sub-sandwich company, and Sporting KC Team Captain Matt Besler, himself a former high school soccer player, have teamed up to recognize these athletes. The ten honorees were chosen from among more than 120 entries because they epitomize what it means to be a Good Sport. They appear in a heartwarming commercial with Besler and receive free Goodcents subs for a year.
“These young athletes should inspire all of us to be our best selves,” said Besler. “They should remind us that this year isn’t about wins or losses. It’s about how we give back, how we work together and how we rise to a challenge with integrity.”
All honorees, who were nominated by coaches, friends and family members, were part of a high school sports team their senior year and a member of the class of 2020 or 2021. The commercial and videos of their individual stories can be found online.
“It’s an honor to acknowledge these students, their hard work and passion,” said Besler.
Lee’s Summit High School
Naji is always juggling a ball -- even in the snow. But he also juggles a lot of responsibilities. “An exemplary individual and athlete,” Naji was nominated for his incredible work ethic, which includes holding down a part-time job to pay for many of his own expenses, helping his single mother with household chores and maintaining a 3.75 grade point average.
Smith Cotton High School
For four years, PJ went to every practice and stood on the sidelines of every football game, never playing because his cerebral palsy put him at risk for injury. He was nominated because his inspiring presence motivated his teammates to never quit. He finally played in the final quarter of a game his senior year, scoring an 80-yard touchdown that inspired everyone around him.
Smith Cotton High School
The lone female wrestler her freshman year, Kali made a point of encouraging other girls to join her on the mat. Kali is a two-time state qualifier but was nominated for her commitment to being a voice for female wrestlers on and off the mat.
Olathe South High School
Joshua had just finished his freshman year when a car accident left him with a traumatic brain injury that threatened his ability to ever play soccer again. Now on the varsity team, Joshua was nominated because of the focus and hard work it took for him to recover and make his dream come true.
Olathe North High School
Wilmer’s family immigrated to the U.S. five years ago from El Salvador. Since then, he’s exhibited an exemplary work ethic--at both school and soccer--making the school’s varsity team. He was nominated because he is a beacon for other children who immigrate to the U.S. “to do whatever they want to succeed and have a better life.”
Guadalupe Centers High School
As captain of the soccer team, Marco led his underdog squad to the school’s first state championship of any kind. He was nominated for his leadership skills, making sure the team is on time and focused, but also because he stays after practice to clean the community park where his team plays.
Liberty High School
Leading her high school’s Color Guard team means Maddie has had to help the squad face some tough challenges this year. Both their championship competition and the team’s London New Year’s Day performance were cancelled. Maddie was nominated because of her strength and work ethic, helping the squad rally and continue to practice.
Shawnee Mission South
Soccer. Basketball. Volleyball.
A triple threat athlete, Natalie also excels at academics -- and inspiring her teammates. Her sophomore year, Natalie led the soccer team to their first state tournament appearance in 20 years. She was nominated because in spite of the pandemic shifting plans and expectations, she’s continued “to lead with the grace and strength of a young person wise beyond their years.”
Payton is a standout basketball star, playing on the USA U16 team last year, though it’s her humility and kindness that really set her apart. Payton was nominated for volunteering to mentor younger players and for always shining a light on others, helping her fellow students with anything they need.
Blue Valley West
Kanwar’s passion for soccer runs deep. Even though the pandemic cancelled games and practices, he continued to play on his own, hoping someday to play in the MLS. Kanwar was nominated because of his unwavering commitment to be the best version of himself -- focused and passionate. (Note: Kanwar was unable to participate in the commercial.)
Go to the Good Sport website for more on the honorees.
Goodcents has 31-years experience as a leading sub sandwich franchise. Founded in Lenexa, Kansas, and headquartered in DeSoto, Kansas, the company is known for its signature soft bread baked fresh twice daily in the restaurants, hand-sliced meats and cheeses to order and hearty pasta and dinner options ready to go. Visit the Goodcents website or download the Goodcents app to order. Connect with Goodcents on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
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