Soccer team gets champion rings in outdoor ceremony

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge High School boys soccer team’s 2019 season ended with a 2-1 victory over Bound Brook in the state championship game in November, but a final chapter was written on June 30, when the team received their championship rings in the parking lot of GRHS in a socially distant ceremony.

Head coach Austin Alvarado, who was in his first season of coaching at GRHS, designed the ring with the help of the team captains and senior players, and said in a phone interview with the Glen Ridge Paper on July 20 that, even though a more formal ceremony couldn’t be held this year, the team still wanted to get their rings together.

“We pushed it off pretty significantly and ended up meeting in the parking lot,” he said. “We didn’t want to send them and have the kids open them by themselves. They were excited to get them, and we wanted to do it together like we did the season together.”

GRHS’s logo is on the front of the ring, surrounded by diamonds. The side, in Glen Ridge High School red, has the year and state-champions declaration on it. An extra detail was added after the rings were ordered — the name of Charles Roberts is engraved on the inside, honoring the Glen Ridge Police Department officer who died in May from COVID-19 complications.

“I reached out to see if we could get his name on them,” Alvarado said. “It came down to what the season was all about. Being in my first year in Glen Ridge, I didn’t have as a close a relationship with him as a lot of people did. But the players all knew him and had such good memories that we wanted to honor him.”

Whether or not the Ridgers will have the opportunity to defend their state title this fall remains to be seen; Alvarado said playing fall sports will be determined by the school reopening plan. With so many unanswered questions about the future, Alvarado said it was good to get the 2019 team together one more time.

“It was a special year because of the Glen Ridge community,” he said. “To have them buy into what we were doing was so much fun. With this we were just following our ability to make the most out of how we played last year.”

Photos Courtesy of Austin Alvarado