BELTON — All four were passing out flyers for a few days but none of them expected the turnout they got from students and family members who wanted nothing more than to congratulate them.
Angel Hernandez, Carlo Mosnia, Keegan Valentino and Brandon McGibney sat behind a table and watched person after person pile into the Belton Tiger gymnasium for their signing day. When all attendees were seated, there were at least 200 of their closest friends sitting in the stands waiting to celebrate the young men’s accomplishments.
With a surprise to boot — unbeknownst to Hernandez or Mosnia they had both been named to the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches All-State teams. Hernandez was a second-team selection and Mosnia earned honorable mention.
“I am so humble. I am shocked,” Mosnia said. “It’s a great honor.”
Hernandez added: “I had no idea, so when coach told us, I couldn’t believe it.”
All four are moving on to play college soccer, with the first three staying in Belton to play at Mary Hardin-Baylor, while McGibney heads to Brownwood to play at Howard Payne.
“All four of these guys are popular and well-liked so it’s no surprise to see so many people come to see them,” Belton coach Tarcisio Mosnia said. “They are all involved in many other (activities and clubs) so they pretty much know everyone in the school.”
All four young men echoed their coach’s sentiments as they discussed their various clubs and teams they are involved with — but none of them expected so many people.
There were reporters asking questions while friends were giving them hugs and trying to take pictures with the day’s stars.
When McGibney was asked a few questions, a student remarked in jest, “Oh, he’s famous now. He doesn’t have time for us.”
McGibney, like his three teammates, was nothing but smiles in taking the friendly jab in stride.
McGibney is used to taking things in stride. The senior goalkeeper was second on the depth chart behind Carlo Mosnia, but never complained. He worked harder and earned playing time on travel teams.
“The competition I had with Carlo everyday will help me when I get to school,” he said. “I had to compete so much for every bit of playing time.”
Valentino stood with several people at once, talking excitedly about the opportunity to play at UMHB.
“This is such a blessing,” Valentino said. “To go with my teammates will be so helpful because we have chemistry already.”
In addition to being named to the all-state team, Hernandez has been honored with several other awards. But the team captain felt more honored by the crowd that flocked in to share the celebration.
“I feel so good about all the people that came. They really shocked me by how many came,” said the four-year varsity starter. “There should be enough cake for them all.”