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The City Journals

Graduation Cup gives Murray High senior soccer players one last game

Jul 13, 2020 12:57PM ● By Ryanne Riet

Senior midfielder Parker Richards helped Murray reach the semifinals of the Graduation Cup in Farmington. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Ryanne Riet | [email protected]

High school spring sports have taken a big hit this year on their fields. 

School teams around the state have been cooped up and unable to participate in games or practices since late March. 

As the state loosens restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, some of this year’s Utah high school soccer teams had the opportunity to get back on the field to participate in the Graduation Cup.

Murray High’s 5A soccer team took third place in the “Pomp” division of the tournament, getting knocked out by the 6A team from Westlake, who went on to take the Graduation Cup title. 

“I was grateful to play with the seniors one last time,” Murray midfielder Brian Garcia said. “We were looking forward to this year’s season.”

The Graduation Cup was unlike any other tournament that the Murray High soccer team has participated in— players’ temperatures were taken before each game, face masks were also a new addition to those that were allowed on sidelines.

“This tournament was for the seniors so they would get their chance to play some soccer their last year in high school,” Garcia said.

The idea for the Graduation Cup came from a Utah mom who just wanted this year’s seniors to have a good send off from their high school careers and one last chance on the field together as a team.

“The highlight of the tournament was the way we played as a team during our games,” Garcia said. “We played with discipline and courage.”

Murray won their group with wins over Bountiful (2-0) and Wasatch (6-1) before tying Viewmont (0-0) to advance to the semifinal where it lost to Westlake 2-0. 

For many of Murray’s senior soccer players this tournament was their last hurrah, their final chance to kick the ball around with team members and friends, and a well-deserved chance to blow off a little pent-up steam that had built during the canceled season.

“The Graduation Cup was great, we had lots of fun,” Garcia said. “I’m going to keep my head up and keep moving forward.”