“When a team has four coaches in four years, it makes it difficult,” Cookson said. “A coach comes in with his system, and so a kid may have to learn four different systems from their freshman year to their senior year.”
Cookson has sent around a dozen of his players on to college soccer.
“I'm going to stay at Grant as long as they'll keep me,” Cookson said. “Once I caught on here, I fell in love with the school.”
Senior midfielder Fraol Legesse, who leads the team with 13 goals, said Cookson is like a “second dad” to the team.
“Some of us come from bad families, so he's willing to do everything for us,” Legesse said. “If someone can't get a ride to school, he goes to pick them up.”
Legesse and his teammates are mindful of their school's reputation, and take pride in showing another side of it.
“People talk about us,” Legesse said. “There's some schools that come to our home stadium, and have some smart questions like, ‘Hey, did somebody get shot?' or ‘How many people died at your school?'
“That motivates us even more to show people that some of us are working hard to get to another level.”
They're also playing for the coach who means so much to them.
“Coach Cookson is like family to us,” said senior Amilicar Carrasco. “We want to win the games for him.”