WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It’s been a season of change and history for the Washington soccer program. Under the direction of first year head coach Chad Clift, the Panthers won a share of the Mid-Illini championship and just the program’s third regional title in it’s 41 year history.
“I’m happy and I think they are happy with what we’ve done, but on the flip side, there is more to be done,” Washington soccer coach Chad Clift said. “But that’s what I love about these kids, is, we’ve had some success this year, but we want more.”
But it’s also been a challenging year for the Panthers. In July, Callan Letcher, who would have been the starting senior goalie for the team, passed away in a car accident. A shock to the team and especially it’s ten seniors.
Kolton Burrow/Washington senior: “Finding out that it’s our goalkeeper, a friend, a teammate, it was just like wow,” Washington senior Kolton Burrow said. “I was emotionless.”
The Panthers have dedicated this historic season in the memory of Callan. Creating wristbands and warm up t-shirts to keep their friend and teammate close at all times.
“We just really want to honor him and when we put those one, we put those bracelets on, and on Senior Night we had a poster for him, we really do all of this for Callan, it means a lot,” Washington senior Grant Woods said. “Every game we play, every game we win, it’s all dedicated to Callan.”
“You know, before every game, before every huddle, our word is family. We’re a family. Every one of us, we are one big family, and that includes Callan,” Clift added. “As much as we love soccer, we also understand that there’s bigger things in life than soccer.”