What do you remember from when you were two years old? Could you stand up on your own? Walk? Maybe even run? Senior Juan Luna was not only doing each of those, he was also playing soccer.
When he was two years old, Luna began playing soccer in Mexico at an academy named Morelia. His father played professionally and started teaching Luna everything he knew. Throughout his life, Luna has learned from his dad. “I guess you could say he has always been my coach,” said Luna.
When Luna was seven, they moved to Mt. Jackson, Va. where he continued to hone his soccer skills. His father coached him during his high school career at Stonewall Jackson but stopped once Luna graduated. After high school, Luna began his athletic career playing football for JMU; however, once there was a coaching change, he decided to play soccer at EMU.
Although his dad is no longer his official coach, Luna still feels his support. “Even when he’s not on the sidelines, I always hear him on the bench screaming at every game,” said Luna. While playing, Luna has a drive to win. “Winning — that’s the only thing. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be anything. We just have to get a win.”
Luna’s teammates and coach notice his drive to win and see it as a positive force for the team. “Juan is a leader. Leaders want to win. In practice, Juan is always helping players with drills and tactical talks,” junior Dave Drafton said.
“Juan is competitive and a cognitive player. He sees passes or runs that some players do not recognize. He is also cool under pressure and often makes the most of the chances that he gets in a game,” Coach Roger Mast said. “He holds high expectations for himself.” Luna’s high expectations have given him aspirations to play professionally. After the game against William Peace University last week, Luna had a glimpse into what that dream would be like when a little boy came over to him and asked him to meet his younger brother. The kid was ecstatic when he met Luna and asked for his autograph. One of his teammates had a pen, so Luna used that and a program to give the boy his signature. “I asked, ‘What’s your name?’ and he said, ‘Juan’ … It was a really humbling moment,” Luna said.
Like his father, Luna wants to play professionally. Like his father, Luna wants to be a great man. His team sees this in his actions. “Juan is a good guy and he always has his teammates backs on and off the field,” senior Zach Sauder said.
As Luna continues playing soccer and moving through his life, he looks to his dad. “I just want to be like him, really. He played professionally; I want to play professionally. He’s the greatest man that I’ve ever met. He’s been teaching me all along and he doesn’t stop teaching me,” Luna said. “It’s a bond like no other.”