Many people around campus are wondering why freshman Elijah Sheft is playing for the junior varsity boys soccer team and not starring on the varsity team. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation, so let the rumors end now. Due to Elijah’s recent commitment to play soccer for Manchester United in England, he is not allowed to play club or varsity soccer. His contract does not, however, prohibit him from playing junior varsity. He has decided to play for the JV team to stay fresh. “Besides, I love playing for my school,” exclaimed Elijah.
Manchester United scouts noticed Elijah playing at a local park when the Sheft family visited England this past summer. They convinced him to visit Carrington, the training ground for Manchester United, so that he could try out for the team. After practicing with the youth team, he was quickly moved up to practice with the first team where the head coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, could see him for the first time. “I was pretty nervous practicing with players like Rooney and Giggs, but they made me feel really welcome and part of the team,” said Elijah. The players certainly liked what they saw. Michael Carrick explained that “the only player I’ve seen play that well with that kind of lack of size is Messi.” Paul Scholes added, “I truly believe he could have made an impact for us this season and helped us in the Champions League and the FA Cup, which we were knocked out of, unfortunately.” The only opinion that really mattered was Sir Alex Ferguson’s, though, who in the end agreed with his players and offered Elijah a lucrative contract.
Because Elijah’s parents wanted him to graduate from high school first, Elijah signed a special contract that tied him to Manchester United, allowing him to join the club in 2014 after he graduates. Until then, the contract does not allow him to play varsity soccer in order to prevent injuries for their prodigy. That won’t stop Elijah from playing soccer for Pace, though. “I love soccer too much not to be playing, so it was an easy choice to join the JV team.” So far this season, Elijah has scored 32 goals in 7 games, tallying at least a hat-trick in every game. Varsity Head Coach Brooks Fleming admitted, “It would have been lovely to have Elijah as part of our team, but at least he’s getting W’s with the JV team, building our program and gaining national recognition for Pace soccer.”
By James Rushton, News Editor ’12