DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Lincoln boys soccer team has one goal. "The goal is to make state,” said Lincoln player Rod Orellana.
"I think we have a real good shot this year," said Lincoln player Javier Santiago.
“It means more and it deserves to mean more at Lincoln. It would be great for these guys,” said head coach Jack Simons.
It would be great because it would be a first. The Rails have never made the state tournament.
"Honestly, I don`t think there would be words for that feeling. It would be amazing to be the first team ever in Lincoln history,” said Santiago.
"When they play it hard, there’s no doubt they can play with and beat anybody,” said Simons.
“I think this year we’ve proved a lot of teams wrong,” said Santiago.
"We really want to do it not just for ourselves but for the school and alumni from Lincoln,” said Orellana.
For many kids, the dream is to play soccer in college. For one senior, that dream came true. Orellana signed a letter of intent to play Division-1 soccer at University of Missouri-Kansas City.
What makes the story even better, he is the first person from his family to go to college.
“To play at a Division-1 team, I don`t want to say I’m lucky, but I’m really glad and I’m grateful for that opportunity,” said Orellana.
"He’s amazing. I’ve played with him since I was little. He’s always been good. Physical, fast, really good with the ball,” said Santiago.
“That`s going to set his whole life in a new direction, a positive one, and his family. It's something we can point to for years to come in the program. It`s a big deal,” said Simons.
It’s a scholarship for soccer, but Orellana’s parents, who are originally from Guatemala, are even more proud of his 3.9 GPA.
"They’re very proud. That`s what they`ve been pushing me to do. I’m glad to make them proud. That`s all I care about really,” said Orellana.
“Extraordinary kid, best player I’ve coached, and best kid. Just love him,” said Simons.
And the Rails would love nothing more than to punch their ticket to the state tournament.
“It would be a really sweet thing I want for these boys and families,” said Simons.