A few months before the start of his junior season, Sergio Garrido suffered the worst setback of his athletic career.
The Mansfield High center-midfielder for the Tigers boys soccer team tore his ACL while playing club for his club team.
“It was a non-contact injury that was just a freak accident,” Garrido said. “It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever faced in my life.”
What followed was nearly a year-long process of rehabilitation that Garrido said was absolutely grueling, but the most difficult part for the MHS senior, however, was not being able to play.
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“It was just tough to watch my team, because I knew I couldn’t do anything about it,” Garrido said. “But it motivated me to come back this year and play every game like it is my last, because you never know.”
Mansfield has experienced a resurgence this season after finishing 1-12-1 last year, and Garrido has played a big part in that.
The Tigers defensive-minded halfback has three assists and one goal, which coincidentally was the game winner with 17 seconds left against Kennedale earlier this season.
Mansfield is 3-3 in District 4-6A competition and in a tie for second place heading into its game on Feb. 20 against North Crowley.
Coach John Fazekas said that Garrido’s dedication to recovering, and strong work ethic, have been critical to his team’s improved play in 2018.
“The thing that impressed me the most last year was how hard he worked rehabbing his knee so that he would be ready for his senior year,” Fazekas said. “Even though he could not play, he cheered and encouraged from the sidelines. Sergio is one of our captains this year and his knowledge, skills, and determination are helping us be a better team.”
Garrido is headed to Dallas Baptist University on a scholarship next year and said he decided on the university because it made the most sense for him because it was the school that best met his needs.
“I felt like it was really the right fit for me,” Garrido said. “The campus is incredibly beautiful. The athletic facilities are top notch. The coaching staff is great, and I really feel like they can help me grow into a better player and better person. The team is really growing fast, and I believe we can do something special. But more important, I chose DBU because of the way they praise the Lord, and I knew the school would help me grow my relationship with God much stronger.”
Fazekas agreed that DBU is a good fit for Garrido and said the most important thing he will bring to the table for the Patriots soccer program is his adaptability.
“He will do whatever he can to help the team succeed,” Fazekas said. “He is versatile, he can play defense or midfield, so DBU has a few options on how to use him.”
Garrido said he has found the silver lining in his injury from last season, something he believes will stick with him throughout his life.
“The biggest thing that it taught me is that you really can do anything you put your mind to,” Garrido said. “If you put in the work, time and effort, anything is possible. It was a huge lesson in my life.”