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Nathan Mount and Jaden Ventura mentor younger teammates

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Senior Nathan Mount dribbles the ball past a defender, Dec. 16.

Soccer can be a time consuming and brutal sport, occupying the schedules of high school players. As seniors Nathan Mount and Jaden Ventura enter their fourth year of playing soccer at Fresno Christian, they experience the pressure of maintaining a balanced schedule and using their time wisely.

Garrett Markarian has assisted in coaching the soccer team for the past 10 years. He has observed the players and the way they interact with each other. He also notices what each player’s strengths are and how they contribute to the team.

“Nate is very mature and is one of our strongest players,” Markarian said. “He will have a strong season because he knows how to play. Jaden makes good decisions with the ball and plays smart. He is good at using his assets. They are both positive and always helping out players and making other players better.”

Being on the soccer team also requires a commitment to games and practices. Players often have to miss school in order to attend and play in games. It is important for student athletes to stay on top of their studies.

Mount struggles with time management during the soccer season, especially when the team has several games a week.

“Keeping up with soccer and outside life at the same time is extremely hard,” Mount said. “I’m not that good at multitasking and staying organized. Just this week we had 5 games of soccer so I missed the whole week of school. I always have to be on top of things.”

While playing soccer, Ventura abstains from certain recreational activities to focus on athletics and academics.

“I have to be very proficient with my time,” Ventura said. “I cannot waste it by playing video games or watching TV. In order to balance all the other areas of my life, I have to set my priorities.”

Courtesy Mara Mueller

Ventura, has played soccer since he was in 3rd grade.


Mara Mueller, Ventura’s mother, and Christy Benggon, Mount’s mother support their sons decision to play on the soccer team. Mueller is an account executive for a laboratory and Benggon is a registered nurse for Hinds Hospice. They both encourage their children to become better and believe that soccer has made them better people.

Mueller appreciates the values soccer has instilled in Ventura.

“Soccer has taught him (Jaden) responsibility,” Mueller said. “He has to show up and wash uniforms. He has to show organization and time management. He has to be able to balance his responsibilities and make sure he keeps up with his studies.”

Benggon sees Mount developing leadership skills while playing the sport.

“Nate has increased in his skill level, become more aggressive and he has become more of leader,” Benggon said. “He has started mentoring and come alongside his team and friends when they are struggling. He also has roles in worship and encouraging friends. It has really helped him take the focus off himself.”

Although soccer is a sport, winning is not the only focus on the campus soccer team. Coaches and players have placed an importance regarding faith while practicing and playing games. Mueller discusses the spiritual impact of the team on Ventura.

“Most of his team members have a relationship with Christ,” Mueller said. “His peers encourage him in Christ. They help him to stay focused on God.”

Coach Markarian values Ventura’s and Mount’s positive on the team and younger players.

“You are helping other players and showing your faith,” Markarian said. “It rubs off on others by being a good example to other teams and players. Everybody respects Jaden and Nate and everybody looks up to them.”

Each player has their unique and favorite memories of playing soccer. They all have special experiences that remind them of their soccer years. Mount remembers a moment where he made a difference in a playoff game. 

“My favorite soccer memory would probably be last year,” Mount said. “My junior year in a playoff game against Orange Cove, I was able to score 2 goals. It ended up putting us into the next round of playoffs.”

Ventura recalls a positive highlight from last season in a game against Fowler.

“My junior year of soccer, Fowler was one of the top competitors in our league,” Ventura said. “We played them at an away game and I scored off a corner kick while also megging (getting the ball through someone’s legs) the goalie in the process. It was an amazing experience having the whole team congratulate me and winning the game as well.”

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FC boys soccer took third in their group with an overall tournament record of 2-1 during the Garces Tournament in Bakersfield at the end of November.

Jacob Avedian, a senior on the soccer team, interacts on and off the field with Mount and Ventura and enjoys their company.

“Nate and Jaden are guiding players to the team,” Avedian said. “They are always willing to help explain something to other players or offer some support. Nate especially goes out of his way to encourage everyone on the team and call them out when they do something good. Both of them are core members of our team and do a great job of filling in anywhere they’re needed.”

Although the season has started it can still be hard for players to coordinate with one another.

“One of the biggest struggles of being on the soccer team is working together and playing as a team,” Ventura said. “We have a very new team this year. We’re all still trying to figure out how to play as one.”

FCS also has a unique environment that public schools do not have due to a smaller student body. Mount feels that he has excelled while attending FC. 

“Deciding to come to FCS throughout high school has been by far my best choice,” Mount said. “Fresno Christian created the best environment for me to excel in. Through the years it has done just that.”

Both Mount and Ventura have liked soccer since they were young. They have had influences from family and friends which interested them in soccer.

“His dad was really good at soccer and his grandfather was good as well,” Mueller said. “They used to play together and that kind of stayed with him.”

Mount enjoyed playing soccer with his friends and siblings before playing competitively with a team.

“I joined the soccer team because I’ve always loved the sport,” Mount said. “Also, a lot of my friends were on the team. My older brother liked soccer before my younger brother and I did, so I think he got us into it.”

Mount and Ventura will lead the team against Parlier during a home match tomorrow, Jan. 9. Show your support for the team by coming out to watch them!

This author can be reached via Twitter, @vijays3242 and via email, Vijay Stephen.

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