Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wins Aren't Foreign Concept; Melting Pot of Nationalities Melds Wolfson, Englewood into Solid Soccer Teams

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wins Aren't Foreign Concept; Melting Pot of Nationalities Melds Wolfson, Englewood into Solid Soccer Teams

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID JOHNSON

The Wolfson boys soccer team isn't reluctant to use its advantages.

Playing against an out-of-area team, Wolfpack coach Todd Tinsley sent two of his star players out for the coin flip.

"We'd send Nedim and Nurdin [Hrustic] out, and they'd argue about the coin flip in Bosnian in front of the opposing players," Tinsley said. "When they go back over, you can see them pointing over at us. They aren't talking about soccer."

Call it fun or gamesmanship, but the truth is the Hrustic twins can speak English quite well. And they represent only one culture on a diverse team. This season, Tinsley has players from Bosnia, Albania, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico. They even have a few Americans.

Last season, the Wolfpack brought all those cultures together in front of one net, making a surprise run to the Region 1-5A final after entering the district tournament as the fourth seed.

"It brings a lot of creativity, different styles of play," said Redian Omari, a senior midfielder from Albania, who along with the Hrustics earned all-state honors last season. "Some people like to play short ball, some people like to play long ball."

Tinsley said one challenge has been getting all those different styles to come together. Sometimes, the challenges go beyond soccer.

"Three years ago, we had an African and Indian who got in an argument over who would win in a fight of their jungle animals," Tinsley said.

Tinsley admits that success has been a big part of getting past such debates.

When a player shouts "linea, linea!" Tinsley said, the American players have learned that means their Spanish-speaking teammates are looking for a pass down the sideline.

But the field has also been a place for cultures coming together.

Nurdin said he's good friends with Sasa Muzdeka, a junior forward who is Serbian, but lived in Bosnia. …

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