By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Her face looks the same.
And it was the youthful glow of Iris Reyes bouncing up and down the sideline of the spectator section of Centennial Park almost 10 years ago. Playing near her mother Ema, kicking a soccer ball with friends or walking her little dog, Iris was always near the game of soccer and the Millington Trojan Soccer program.
“I do remember those days,” she said. “It was a lot of fun coming here and watching them play.”
With her were her older brothers Jose, Anibal and Ivan. All three played for the boys’ soccer team reaching Sub-State in 2006. During their glory days, there little sister was nearby admiring their skills and developing her love of the game.
“It was just different after seeing her grow up over the years and all of us helping coming through with pointers on what to do,” Jose said. “Not giving her too much hell about it because she’s the only girl and the baby. It’s kind of weird seeing that. You feel old, I graduated in ‘06.”
In recent years, the Reyes Brothers have returned the favor coming to Centennial Park to watch their sister develop into a leader for the Lady Trojans.
On Sept. 30, the last child of Jose Sr. and Ema Reyes participated in a Millington Soccer Senior Night. Joining Ema were her sons to walk out the little girl who used to walk a dog around Centennial Park.
“It feels weird because the time goes by so fast,” Iris said. “I really didn’t see this day coming actually.
“It feels great that this day is here,” she continued. “But I’m kind of sad because I’m the last one. I didn’t want it to end. We’ve been playing at Millington for a really, really long time. It doesn’t feel that great but it’s a good moment too.”
Jose noted Iris’ Senior Night was a bittersweet moment. The occasion took the Reyeses down memory lane.
“When I was playing the game, I was always looking over at her to see what she was doing,” Jose recalled. “I knew she was watching me.”
Iris was watching all three of her brother picking up techniques. She said each brother taught her something different when it came to playing soccer.
“I learned to never give up,” she said. “They all just told me to never give up and keep trying hard to make it to where you want to.
Jose, he taught me of his fast footwork,” Iris continued. “Anibal is just goofy. He’s the smallest so he taught me not to give up on these larger girls. And Ivan just taught me how to play smoothly and how to be patient. But they all taught me to love the game.”
The Reyes Brothers love for the game and each other is currently on display at Mike Rose in the Memphis area. All three are playing on the same team for the first time since they delivered the best season in Trojan Soccer history.
Anibal and Ivan said they have left a banner to hang at Millington Central High School and a legacy of winning soccer.
Now playing in adult leagues, the Reyes Brothers are still watched by their No. 1 fan with Iris driving to their games in Memphis.
But for one last moment in time, the Reyes family gathered on Centennial Park field to celebrate the career of a Trojan. Jose said honoring Iris is the ideal way to commemorate the days the Reyeses suited up in the black and gold.
“I know that the whole Reyes family put a lot of effort in playing for Millington Soccer,” he concluded. “Our parents brought us here from Memphis to be at a better school and to be safer. Being her Senior Day and going through all we have, we were happy to do it for Millington Soccer.”