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BOYS SOCCER: TENACIOUS DESERT CHRISTIAN'S SULTAN ACHIEVES HIS GOAL.

Byline: Gideon Rubin Staff Writer

LANCASTER - When Adam Sultan tried out for the Desert Christian boys' soccer team as a freshman last season, he was cut.

The experience, Sultan said, was painful, but encouragement from his parents helped him redouble his efforts to improve. His perseverance has paid off. He not only made the roster this season, but he is the team's top scorer and helped lead Desert Christian to its first High Desert League title.

just never gave up, I was determined to play the game that I really love,'' said Sultan.

The Knights (15-5-2) played a second-round match Wednesday afternoon at Ontario Christian.

Desert Christian defeated Campbell Hall 2-1 in overtime in the first round with Sultan scoring the team's first goal. Sultan has 24 goals this season.

Sultan said he was too nervous and tried to do too much to impress his coach during last season's tryouts and was cut.

``That whole day I was really heartbroken,'' he said. ``I was crushed. I've never been turned down like that before. I couldn't stay at school, I couldn't face my friends who'd made the team, I just felt really left out.

But Sultan channeled his negative emotions into working harder and he believes the experience has made him a better player.

``It made me more humble and more relaxed,'' he said. ``When I come into the games relaxed, I play much better.''

Desert Christian coach Jon McIver said several players approached him last season asking him why Sultan, who had a reputation as a strong player in the area in club soccer, didn't make the team.

But the way Sultan performed in the tryouts, it wasn't even that close a call.

``I was too uptight,'' Sultan said. ``I was too intimidated by the other players and I tried to hard to impress the coach, which messed me up.''

But in the end, it was Sultan's resilience that impressed his coach.

``Just the fact that he came out again this year says a lot,'' McIver said. ``He was hungry for it and I think since I knew a little more about him, I was able to calm him down.''

Senior stopper Josh Pratt was among the players who was surprised Sultan was cut; however, he has seen a dramatic improvement in Sultan's game this year.

``It made him come back much stronger mentally and physically,'' Pratt said.

Sultan said he's learned a valuable lesson from his soccer ordeal that will help him in many aspects of his life. He said he goes by the Vince Lombardi motto: `It's not whether you fall down, it's whether you get back up.''

Sultan said he wants to pass what he's learned to his younger brother, who also plays soccer. The experience has also given him a perspective on where sports fits into life.

``It's not the end of the world,'' said Sultan. ``There's a lot more important things that you can lose.''

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo: Sophomore Adam Sultan has given Desert Christian a strong presence, having scored 24 goals this season.

Tom Mendoza/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 22, 2001
Words:514
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