Kyle Smith ‘16 – He is a young man of few words. His actions and achievements do most of the talking for him.
A freshman starting on varsity is not a common occurrence, but that’s exactly what goalkeeper Robert Gjelaj ‘19 was for Romeo soccer this past season. Part of it was a little luck, another part natural skill, but most importantly, Robert earned his rightful place through dedication and passion. His older teammates took him under their wings like he were their younger sibling.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was four,” Robert said. “The last five years I’ve played for the Michigan Wolves. I’ve always been a goalie, training hard to be the best I could be.”
His best impressed Romeo coach Chris McInally at tryouts. His best also impressed other coaches throughout the season as he fearlessly faced his older opposition. During games, the other teams couldn’t help but praise him, and curse him, on some of his saves.
Robert shouldn’t be judged on the team’s track record, but rather on his performance out on the pitch. He always gave 110%.
“It was a great experience, especially playing with my older brother Christian,” Robert said, reflecting on the season.
Once the season had ended, it was announced at the banquet that Robert was not just the varsity MVP, but had made the districts team as well.
His high-school career is only just blossoming; still having three years ahead of him, he is eager to continue playing for Romeo until he graduates. Then Robert says he plans on playing for the University of Michigan.
“Never give up,” he tells others aspiring to reach the same level of success.
Robert has already accomplished things even seniors dream of. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. He’s more of an inspiration than he might realize.