The loudest cheers at Dexter’s soccer game Thursday night weren’t for the players who scored the four goals. Or for the defenders who kept the ball out of their own end. Or for the goalie who finished with a shutout.
They were for No. 17, Greg Zenas, who played about half the game, had a few touches, and needed some help from coaches and teammates to know where to stand and where to run.
But some learning curve was expected. This was, after all, his first time playing varsity soccer.
A Dexter senior with Down syndrome, Zenas has spent the last six years as the soccer team’s manager — filling up water bottles, picking up equipment and cheering on his teammates.
Nobody had told Zenas that Thursday night would be any different from the hundred other soccer games he’s been to. But after the senior night ceremony, his coach, Scott Forrester, approached him with a brown paper bag containing cleats and shin guards.
“Get ready, you’re going to be playing,” Forrester told him.
So Zenas, with an ear-to-ear smile, suited up, and found his spot with the rest of the starters for introductions.