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City names Edmar Varela coach of the year, again

Jimmy Myers
City names Edmar Varela coach of the year, again
Lions players (left to right) Hans Cazeau, Bubacar Juwara, Fabio Pina, Gustavo Santos and Issac Clerveau with coach Edmar Varela. PHOTO: PATRICK O’CONNOR/BPS

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Hats off to the boys soccer team at Boston International High School and head coach Edmar Varela, following a strong run in Division 5 of the Boston City League. The Lions came within a whisper of city and state titles while compiling a sterling 19-3 overall record.

Following a tough 3-2 loss to Latin Academy for the city championship, the young Lions team racked up 3-0 post-season victories over Charlestown, Mt. Greylock and Maynard before a 2-0 season-ending defeat at the hands of Westport, the eventual state champions in Division 5.

City officials named Varela coach of the year before the City League’s annual all-star boys soccer game Nov. 14. It is the second such award for Varela, who, as a first-year coach, guided the girls team to a 14-0 regular season record in 2017.

Boston International boys soccer coach Edmar Varela received the ‘Coach of the Year’ award from city officials before the annual all-star game on Nov. 14. PHOTO: PATRICK O’CONNOR/BPS

Varela, born in Angola and raised in Cape Verde, came to Boston at age 12. Now a physical education teacher and a coach with the distinction of being named the top mentor in both girls’ and boys’ soccer within a few years, Varela says one of his most challenging adjustments was getting used to the weather in Boston: “I came here in March, and the weather was typical for Boston —very cold. But I was able to survive it over the years because of my love of teaching and coaching a game I have played since my childhood.”

When asked about the critical component for the success of this year’s team, Coach V puts it succinctly: “Diversity and a strong work ethic. That’s the key to our success on the field.”

Star performers were sophomore right-winger Jerry Registe, with 21 goals and 10 assists, and freshman midfielder Xavier Arriola, with 17 assists. Freshman defenseman Steevenson Clanson and freshman goaltender Carl Belony highlight a powerful team that is expected to be at the top of city rankings next year.

Valera predicts a bright future, he says, “if we stay together and continue to play as a team.”

Boston International High School is specifically designed to serve a diverse student body of English language learners. A unique admission process assigns students based on the results of an English language placement test.

While the school struggles in some areas, its overall performance in educating its students seems promising despite the challenges.

With so many students coming from outside U.S. borders, the school faces the daily challenge of communicating on many different levels and navigating cultural and language barriers. A dedicated staff provides a college preparatory curriculum designed to teach students English and “rigorous content” while communicating effectively with families and community partners.

The Newcomers Academy, a program for students newly arrived in the United States who have little or no schooling in their home country or whose education has been interrupted, is one of the school’s main selling points.

Other critical components of the school are its after-school and Saturday programs that offer academic support and enrichment.

Brand new biology and chemistry labs provide hands-on learning. Arts programs are taught in collaboration with Sociedad Latina and Youth and Family Enrichment Services. The school’s college connections include a summer enrichment program (RYSE) for immigrant high-schoolers at Harvard University and the Talented and Gifted (TAG) Latino programs with UMass-Boston. All this leads up to after-school SAT prep for 11th graders.

Boston International’s athletic programs for boys and girls are quite competitive, with the boys soccer team — and its coach — grabbing significant headlines this year.

Varela and the Boston International School team have much to look forward to in the next few seasons.

Boston City League, Boston International High School, coach Edmar Varela, soccer, Sports