Prep soccer beats McDowell

Prep soccer had a fantastic 5-0 win over McDowell, adding to their 8-0 undefeated record. This win adds on to an overall impressive yet grueling week, where the Ramblers played six matches in ten days.

Prep’s offense came to play, staying dominant throughout the entire game. Goals were scored by Jack Hilbrich, Matt Szparaga, Tyler Vandemerwe, and Jack Peterson. Ten minutes into the game, Hilbrich had a fantastic goal from 25 yards away, going straight through the hands of the McDowell goalie. James Kilgallon remarked ofthe goal, “[It was a] fantastic way to start, [and it] made our presence known on the field.”

Before halftime, Szparaga was able to add in another goal from the right wing. That intensity transitioned even after the break, where just three minutes in Vandemerwe scored. This was a rebound off of Zach Hein’s initial shot. Then, Peterson finished the game off with two goals, solidifying a dominant Prep win. 

Prep defended its home field very well, not allowing the Trojans to score a single goal. Although the defense often goes unrecognized, they were integral to allowing the offense to flourish. Goalie Nate Ferrick saved all shot attempts that came his way. When asked about his performance, Nate credited the defense, saying, “The Trojans forwards were always met with great resistance by our back line, making my job a lot easier.”

This was the last Prep-McDowell game for many of the Prep seniors that are on the team. To capitalize on this infamous rivalry, the game was called “Kicking It For Cancer.” Annalise Denning was the honored guest, a young girl diagnosed with medulloblastoma. Proceeds from the game, were given to offset her family’s medical costs. Patrick Reim commented on the game, “[It was a] great win for the boys. It was really great to play for something meaningful. I’m glad I was a part of it.” 

Cathedral Prep Fall Mid-Season Sports Report

As the calendar closes on September, it is approximately midseason for many fall sports.

Record: 5-0

With half of the regular season over the Cathedral Prep football team have had a great start to the season. With a perfect 5-0 record, including key wins versus McWho and Benedictine from Ohio, the football team looks to keep it rolling in the second half of the season and go for another perfect regular season and winning a District 10 championship versus Warren.

The Ramblers are ranked 2nd in the state in class AAAA behind last year’s state champions Imhotep Charter. Prep is led by quarterback Joe Mischler who has been having a stellar year along with Notre Dame commit, linebacker Matthew Bauer, who have led the Ramblers in total yards and tacklesrespectively. Senior starting wide receiver Trey Deitrick talked about the mindset of the team right now. “I expect that we go through the regular season undefeated even though we have tough opponents coming up like Canisus. We have a great chance at a state title run, but if we take it game by game we can beat anyone in the state.” This attitude is the key to success for the season especially coming off a 2nd place in the state finish last year.

Record: 7-1

It has been a solid start to the season for the Prep soccer team, especially coming off a huge win at McWho last week. The Ramblers are riding high with a 7-1 record. Their lone loss came from a very talented Clarence team from New York. Seniors Phil Cammarata (St. Bonaventure commit) and Richard Blanchard along with juniors Zach Hein and Matt Zupan have led the Ramblers each game.

The soccer team has a huge second half of the season coming up as they play some great teams from Ohio in Lake Catholic and Walsh Jesuit along with another battle with the team from Millcreek. The team looks to keep their momentum going as they look to the playoffs and their quest for a third consecutive District 10 title and a possible run to states.

waterpolo2016Water Polo
Record: 12-2

The Cathedral Prep water polo squad has been working hard in the first half of their season, and this hard work has paid off with a 12-2 start. Of these 12 wins the most important one came versus the Trojans in the first win at the new David Hallman III Aquatics Center. In addition to great performances in the McDowell Cup, the Tiger Classic and the Beast of the East tournaments, the Ramblers look to keep the momentum going to win the first annual Erie Challenge, which will be held at the PVEC. The team hopes to be as successful as last year’s team who made a deep run in the state tournament.


The regular season just wrapped up for the Rambler golf team on Monday at Whispering Woods Golf Club where they won their 11th straight region title with a team score of 309 over 2nd place McWho who scored 331. With their region win, the golf team automatically qualified for the District 10 team championship where they will face the Warren Dragons at The Country Club in Meadville next Friday.

Individually, the Ramblers were led by Region Golfer of the Year, Ryan Misko, along with Alex Pol and Rob Harris who were all first team all region and automatic qualifiers for the District 10 Individual Championships which will also be held next Friday and Saturday at Meadville. Mark Majewski (Second Team All Region) and Patrick Kelly (Defending District 10 Individual Champion and PA State Qualifier) will play Monday in the Region Qualifier at Meadville to determine their spot into the Individual Championship. The Ramblers are looking for their first District 10 team title since 2013 and a chance at making the State Team Tournament.

crosscountry2016Cross Country
Record: 3-1

The cross country team has hit the halfway point in their season with wins in the region versus Central Tech, Strong Vincent and McWho. They also received a 5th place finish in the McDonough Invite in Cleveland. They are led by seniors Kyle Wagner and Ryan Garich along with junior Kyle Martin and sophomores Matthew Whaley and Alex Chelton who all have had stellar performances. The Ramblers have clinched the region for the second consecutive time with four more meets left of the regular season.

This school year has gotten off to a great start for all of Prep’s sports teams. Optimism is high for all of the teams as they look for continued success for the rest of their season.

UEFA Champions League Final

It is finally that time of the year again; two of the best European soccer teams face off to decide who the best club in Europe is. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will compete for the best team in Europe on Saturday, May 28.

This is not just a regular league final; it is a chance for Atletico Madrid to redeem their loss at the last season’s final against Real Madrid. They both are Spanish giants who hold their own in any league. Atletico has been improving tremendously in the fast few seasons. Being the underdog for most part, they have really proved that their teamwork can beat any team. They were able to beat FC Barcelona to advance to the semi-finals, ending Barca’s consecutive win streak. Atletico’s head coach, Diego Simeone, has shown great leadership and coaching techniques to shape his players to be able to face off against large clubs. As shown in the semi-final, Atletico has been able to beat the monstrous FC Bayern Munich, who are near impossible to defeat.

On the other hand, Real Madrid have always been known for their style of play. They have won the league last seasons, so they are in high hopes of winning again. They are no stranger to teamwork and they do possess players that have unique talents to carry the team. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema returning in time from injury for the final, they are in good shape. However, it is important for them to not underestimate their rivals, as at any given chance they will be robbed of their title.

Real Madrid’s hopes of retaining their title is strengthened as Atletico exit the race for La Liga league race with a loss. That helped Real advance in top of the table alongside FC Barcelona to face off for the final.

The famous Cristiano Ronaldo is not the only player who is showing a lot of promise. Antoine Griezmann, Atletico’s striker, who has scored important, decisive goals for the team to help them advance throughout the championship. He is being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and the world’s best Lionel Messi, which is a flattering comparison on his part.

El Clasico: Aftermath

On April 2, the La Liga giants faced off in an absolutely intense and violent match. For weeks leading up to this match the tension was building up for FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid FC. As usual, fans always have been arguing about which team is better. Statically, Barcelona led the league pointwise with Real Madrid in third place. However, that was soon to change.

As with every other Classico, the game was intense. There were many fouls on both sides and controversial referee calls. The fans were also caught up in the mess as they booed against their teams. The Portugal Madrista star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was shaking his head in disappointment at the audiences’ behavior during a moment of silence held to honor a recent death of a famous soccer player.

FC Barcelona were first to score, which made it seem that things were going in their favor. Real Madrid soon caught up with a stunning volley that tied things up. Later in the 80th minute, Ronaldo scored to win the game for Madrid.

Even though Barcelona was still ahead in the league, the loss took a massive hit on the team. They later on lost another La Liga match against Real Sociedad. These two loses ended their record breaking win streak.

On the other hand, Real Madrid took the win as a boost and won another game against Eibar. They are still behind on points, but they finally managed to close the huge gap.

As of today, April 11th, FC Barcelona led the league with 76 points, Atletico Madrid are 2nd with 73 points, with Madrid in 3rd place with 72 points.

FC Barcelona: The best ever?

In the world of soccer, there are many big-name clubs that come to mind. The first name that comes to mind is FC Barcelona. They are having a fantastic season so far with their unbeaten 28-game spree. Luis Enrique, the team’s head coach, has recently completed the 100-game milestone as head coach. He is also the first to tie Pep Guardiloa’s record set back in 2010-11 with Barca with the unbeaten 28-game streak.

The team is complete in almost every way. They have very solid defense with their star defender, Gerard Pique, who is quick at clearing dangerous attacks by the opponents. At their mid-field, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, and Javier Mascherano are perfect for setting up goals and do a great job of setting up counter-attacks. Their wonderful game of one-touch passing gives opponents a reason to fear the Spanish club.

Besides their defense and mid-field, Barcelona may very well have the best attacking trio ever seen. With their MSN formation, Messi, Suarez, and Neymar, they have no worry for lack of goals in any game. With the best player in the world, Messi, as well as the next prodigy, Neymar, and the Uruguayan superstar, Suarez, goals just cannot stop coming for Barcelona. They have a total of 102 goals, and a total of 49 assists for the 2014-15 season. They are the best trident in Spanish football history. It is nowhere near the end of the season yet, and they already have an amazing 91 total goals, sure to be set more records by the time the season is over.

After Barcelona won the treble last season, it is a without a question that they will be close to obtaining their third this season as well.

Ramblers’ fall sports season off to good start

It’s arguably the best time of the year here at Cathedral Prep with all of the school’s fall sports teams kicking off their seasons. As always the school has high expectations for all of the teams and the goals they wish to accomplish this season. Take a look at all of the teams competing during this fall season.

Cross Country

image6The Ramblers cross country team opened up their season with a dual meet against defending state champion North Allegheny on Sept. 8 at Frontier Park. The Ramblers fell short and suffered their first loss of the season. The following Saturday the team traveled down to Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, Pa., to compete in the annual Red White and Blue Classic. Evan Fritzke paced the Ramblers, finishing 27th overall out of roughly 300 runners. He was followed by teammate Bailey Klein who finished 30th overall. As a team the Ramblers placed 6th out of a field of 30 teams. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Sept. 22, as Prep duals against their rival McDowell at Frontier Park beginning at 4 p.m.

Key Losses: Jack Lindenberger, Norman Stark, Michael Clark, and Matthew Neville

Key Returners: Evan Fritzke, Jack Dey, Bailey Klein, Noah Nicolia, Kevin Haight, Kyle Wagner, Roman Zegarelli, and Jake Schlosser


image2Football season is back which means it’s the craziest time of the year around the halls of Cathedral Prep. The football team recently went down to Kissimmee, Florida to open the season taking on the Wakulla War Eagles. The War Eagles were led by LSU-commit Feleipe Franks as well as Keith Gavin, one of the top wide receivers in the class of 2016. The Ramblers were ultimately defeated by a score of 31-14. Malano Jones rushed for a pair of touchdowns and gained 80 yards on the ground in the loss. When senior captain Sullivan Johnson was asked about how the overall experience of playing in Florida will help the team he responded, “Wakulla was a very talented team with tremendous athletes. We had to play at a very high intensity just to compete and that took us to another level. If we play with the passion throughout the season that we had in Florida we will have a very special season.”

The Ramblers most recently squared off against region opponent Strong Vincent, on Friday, Sept. 11 at Veterans Stadium. It was all Cathedral Prep in this one. TaNauz Gregory set the tone by recording an interception on Strong Vincent ‘s first play from scrimmage. From there on out the Ramblers were rolling, and they defeated Vincent by a score of 63-0. The Ramblers next outing is Sept. 18, with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Gus Anderson Field against McDowell. The opposition goes into the game with a winless record of 0-2. They were defeated by Lake Catholic 63-7 in Week 1 and fell to Canton McKinley 27-10 the following week.

Key Losses: Charlie Fessler, DeAngelo Malone, James Trucilla, Jake Galla, Tim Zieziula, Sean Harris, Jermaine Hunter, Troy Woodard, Sam Sweny, Byrce Boyd, Billy Norfolk, Alex Kissel, Mike Spizarny, Dominic Kramer, and Chris Callari

Key Returners: TaNauz Gregory (Sr), Matthew Bauer (So), Malano Jones (Sr), Jose Casiano (Sr), Timmy Beveridge (Sr), Sullivan Johnson (Sr), Dajon Heidelberg (Sr), Mike Buzas (Sr), Adam Figurski (Sr), Mitchell Gresh (Sr), Shane Scott (Sr), Nick Bizzarro (Sr), Koron Williams (Sr), Alex Comi (Sr), Jeremy Hill (Sr), Jerry Roberts (Jr)

Water Polo

waterpoloThe Cathedral Prep’s water polo team opened up their season with a splash, by “drowning” a talented North Allegheny team 15-8. Over the weekend the Ramblers placed first in the very prestigious Ohio Cup, avenging their second place finish from last season. The hype has already began for Wednesday, Sept. 23, as the squad takes on rival McDowell at the Intermediate  (McDowell) starting at 7:15 p.m. The senior class has yet to lose to McDowell in the pool and look for another dominating victory over the Trojans. Following McDowell, the Ramblers will be playing in the highly regarded “Beast of The East Tournament” held in Philadelphia, Pa., from Sept. 25-26. The expectation for this year’s team is as high as it has been in recent years and there does not appear to be any signs of a let down.

Key Losses: Daniel Bauman, Davis Nies, Eli Chase, and David Kuhar

Key Returners: Dan Anthony (Sr), Tom Squelia (Sr), Tony Squelia (Jr), Rex Riley (Sr), David Rahner (Sr), and Calvin Behm (So)


image3The Cathedral Prep soccer program is rapidly growing and strengthening year by year. There is much anticipation for all that this year’s team will accomplish. The Ramblers are returning a lot of experience from a very successful team that won the District 10 championship just a season ago. The biggest hole that needs replaced can be found at goalkeeper where the Ramblers lost legendary goalie Oliver Wiesner.

Senior Michael Stark is called upon to guard the net and so far all signs point towards another successful season of strong goalkeeper play. They have almost the entire defensive unit back with Nick Paglia, Gage Bamberger, and Derek Jones returning along with senior captain Antonio Simora. The three-headed monster of Zach Hein, Phil Cammarata, and Tommy Russo look to dominate the center of the field while transfer Matthew Zupan looks to score the goals along with Brady Sittinger.

The Ramblers opened up play on Sept. 9 at Dollinger Field against General McLane. The Ramblers were victorious as they defeated the Lancers by a score of 10-0. The Ramblers then defeated Youngstown Ursuline 8-2. Junior Brady Sittinger has started out the season on a tear scoring 7 goals in just two games. Whoever wants to witness the Ramblers in action can take a trip to Dollinger Field on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. when they will face McDowell.

Key Losses: Oliver Wiesner, Sean Reed, Steven Brown, Dino Krdzalic, Sammy Tojaga, and Nick Baran.

Key Returners: Antonio Simora (Sr), Nick Paglia (Sr), Gage Bamberger (Sr), Sammy Tojaga (So), Zach Hein (So), Brady Sittinger (Jr), Thomas Russo (So), Ryan Bogniak (Sr), Phil Cammarata (Jr), Derek Jones (Jr), and Michael Chrzanowski (Sr)


image4Golf starts their season relatively early to ensure the state playoffs will not be affected by snow or any other uncontrollable weather conditions. This year’s starting lineup consists of senior Ben Ladaika, senior Jordan Henry, junior Ryan Misko, sophomore Robbie Harris, sophomore Alex Pol, and last but certainly not least, freshman Patrick Kelly. The Cathedral Prep golf team started off their season in a dominant fashion by defeating McDowell by a grand total of 42 strokes.

The Ramblers have competed and placed highly in some prestigious tournaments thus far such as the Rough Rider Invitational in Kent, Ohio (1st Place), the Corry Invitational (1st Place) and the University School Tournament in Kent, Ohio (2nd Place). A huge congratulations goes out to senior Ben Ladaika who buried his first career hole-in-one this season. “I was more in shock than anything,” Ladaika said. “I knew it went in and saw it go in, but it still hasn’t sunk in my head that I made it.” The Ramblers currently sit at 4-0 in region play and continue to show consistency on the course. The hopes are high for the remainder of the season and we wish the golf team the best of luck as they enter their final stretch of the regular season.

Key Losses: Ryan Podufal, Jack Kloecker, Jack Bloomstine, Jack Kelly, and Dana Stewart

Key Returns: Ben Ladaika (Sr), Jordan Henry (Sr), Ryan Misko (Jr), Robbie Harris (So), and Alex Pol (So)

If you’re looking to support any of Prep’s teams this fall season, you can view the schedules of all the Rambler teams online.

UEFA Champions League final is set

At last, the final for the UEFA Champions league is near. FC Barcelona faces Juventus for the final cup on Saturday June 6th. FC Barcelona defeated German champions, Bayern, 5-3 agg, while Juventus beat Madrid 3-2 agg.

Barcelona has not played Juventus for a Champions League final in over 12 years. But it is definitely something worth the wait as both teams hold their own among the world’s best clubs.

Barcelona has a chance to prove themselves as the best club in the world. They have defeated French champions, PSG; German Champs, Bayern; and English champs, Manchester City. All there is left is for them to win against the Italian champions, Juventus.

This is also a reunion for the world class player Luis Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini. Ever since the biting incident in the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, those players have not met. Will there be another biting incident in this game? Suarez is under a no-biting policy contract with Barcelona, so if he does attempt to do something, he is risking his career.

Both teams have world class players. On Juventus’  side is Paul Pogba, a young talent with a promising career, Carlos Tevez, an Argentinean talent known for scoring beauty goals, and Andrea Pirlo, the legend that is the center of the team.

For Barcelona, players such as Messi, the world’s top player, Luis Suarez, the strong striker, Neymar, the young talents, and Iniesta, the team’s play maker, lead the way.

Both teams have top class players and will try their best to win the game. The last match they played against each other ended with a Barcelona win 3-2. But Xavi recalls a disastrous match when they played them at their home field.

It will all be settled on June 6.

MLS Early Season Predictions

It may only be the sixth week that Major League Soccer has been under way, but it is time to make some predictions of who will win, who will not win, and who will be the recipients of awards at the end of the season. For the most part, the start of the season has been tight, as teams can dominate one week and lose miserably the next, or vice versa. Some players and teams have been better than others, and with that, let’s begin the predictions. (These predictions were made prior to week 6 games being played.)

Supporter’s Shield: Vancouver Whitecaps

The Supporter’s Shield is given to the team that accumulates the most points over the course of the season. Despite losing their first game handily to Toronto FC 3-1, Vancouver has looked the most likely to run away from the rest of the teams in the league and win the Shield. Their young, they are incredibly fast, and they can score. Their defense is the only thing that is a bit of a weakness, as their center backs Kendall Waston and Pa Modou Kah are very physical and prone to fouling. They score enough goals that giving up a few will not really matter, though.

MLS Cup: Vancouver Whitecaps

The playoffs are difficult to predict so early in the season, especially since this summer is the Gold Cup tournament and the U-20 World Cup, so many teams will be missing players. This means that once the summer is over the teams that are more successful are likely to emerge. However, right no Vancouver looks like the best team. They have speed to spare, playmakers, and youth, and if they don’t get too physical and get players sent off, are always dangerous in the goal department, especially on the counter. Vancouver looks like the best team in the West right now, and the Eastern Conference team they will play in the finals is going to be DC United.

Landon Donovan MVP Award: Pedro Morales

Just as the MLS Cup Champs are difficult to predict, it is tough to say who will breakthrough as the best player this season as well. It will probably be a player on the Whitecaps if they win MLS Cup like in the prediction. While Octavio Rivero scores all the goals, the real star of the Whitecaps is their playmaker in the middle, Pedro Morales. While he has yet to score a goal this season, Morales already has 3 assists, tied for second in the league with 4 other players. Morales will be the MVP of the championship team, the Whitecaps, because even though he may not score as much as his teammate Rivero, he creates the plays that lead to goals, which is much more important.

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award: Ike Opara*

The Comeback Player of the Year goes to the player who showed the most improvement after a leave of absence, due to injury, medical condition, or after a slump in performance. In 2015, so far that player is definitely Ike Opara. Opara suffered an ankle injury last April that surprisingly ended his season. After recovering, Opara has started Sporting Kansas City’s first five games and has scored two goals.

MLS Defender of the Year Award: Ike Opara*

Not only should Opara win the Comeback Player of the Year, he is also one of the frontrunners for Defender of the Year. Sporting KC is in fourth place with 6 goals allowed, although 2 of those were in a win. Opara himself has scored 2 of the 6 goals Kansas City has scored themselves, and has been a rock at the back in defense along with US National Team player Matt Besler.

MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award: Tyler Deric

Plenty of goalkeepers have been impressive, including DC United’s Bill Hamid and Colorado’s Steve Irwin, but Tyler Deric should lead the running for Goalkeeper of the Year at the moment. Although he gave up a messy goal that he punched in himself, Deric has made up for it with numerous spectacular saves that have kept Houston in games.

MLS Golden Boot: Octavio Rivero

Through the first 5 games of the season, Rivero has 5 goals, and is on pace for 34 goals this season. While he should probably have 6 goals, as he missed an empty net tap-in during the Whitecaps’ first game. Despite that miss, Rivero has put the ball in the back of the net with ease, and is thus far the most dangerous striker in the league.

MLS Newcomer of the Year Award: Octavio Rivero

Rivero came to the Whitecaps this season from Chilean club O’Higgins FC, where he scored 10 goals in 16 games. If Rivero were to win the Golden Boot, he would almost be assured the Newcomer of the Year as well. The Whitecaps also had last season’s newcomer of the year, their playmaker Pedro Morales.

MLS Rookie of the Year: Fatai Alashe

The toughest award of the bunch to predict is the Rookie of the Year, especially since the season has just begun and many rookies have not had the chance to make their mark. So far, the most impressive rookie has been San Jose’s Fatai Alashe. It is unusual to see a rookie start right away for any first team, and Alashe has been impressive through 4 games, including scoring his first goal and the first goal of San Jose’s new Avaya Stadium.

MLS Best XI: This is the best eleven players from the past season. It is not an award, it is just to showcase the most impressive players that season.

Goalkeeper: Tyler Deric

Defenders: Ike Opara*, Bobby Boswell, Chris Duvall

Midfielders Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco, Harry Shipp, Pedro Morales

Forwards: Octavio Rivero, Kei Kamara, Clint Demps

*Opara suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during Sporting KC’s week 6 game with Real Salt Lake.

2015 El Clasico Preview

It is that time of the year again. The Spanish footballing Giants clash again for the 2015 El Clasico: FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. This game is not just any simple game. It is a game of long term rivalries, fans bragging rights, and two of the most skillful players of all time: Messi vs. Ronaldo.

The game is set to kick off on Sunday, March 22 at the Camp Nou stadium at Barcelona. In the most recent game those clubs played against each other, Madrid bested Barcelona with a 3-1 win with the help of Ronaldo, who opened the scoring spree for Madrid with a penalty. Then Pepe added a score, with an assist from Kroos, and Benzema added another, with an assist from Rodriguez.

At this game, people will witness the player with the better boots. Ronaldo is set to play the match with his brand new Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7. With the famous CR7 logo on the cleats, he will be hard to miss at the game. Messi will be wearing his new Adidas Adizero giving tribute to the town where he learned to play the game.

Most importantly, this game is critical to both teams. Barcelona is ahead of Madeid by one point on the La Liga table. They need to keep the lead and even increase it to secure the win. Madrid will be at their best trying to get ahead back to the lead on the table.

This game is what all fans have been waiting for. Mark the date: tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern, when the clash of Giants will begin.

More Than a Game: VFL Wolfsburg pays tribute to fallen player

The death of an athlete is incredibly emotional on many levels. Not only are the deceased player’s teammates mourning their comrade’s passing, but the fans of the team are grieving as with the players as well. Beyond the team, fans of the league lament the death of the player, as do people from around the world who call the sport their favorite. This is no more evident than with the recent untimely death of VFL Wolfsburg player Junior Malanda, a 20-year-old Belgian player who was killed in a fatal car accident.

The Bundesliga is the top-flight of German soccer, and the league takes a winter break between December and the end of January. It was during this break that Malanda passed away. On Jan. 10, Malanda was a passenger with two others in a car traveling in Germany when the car left the road and crashed into a tree. Malanda was confirmed dead at the scene. Police say he was not wearing his seat belt.

The reaction was immediate. Soccer fans across the globe poured out their condolences for the young player. Players took to social media to express their grief, including Wolfsburg teammate Kevin De Bruyne and other Belgian national team players. Malanda had no caps for the senior Belgian international team, but he was the captain of the Belgian U-21 team, scoring 2 goals in 15 appearances.

The winter break for the Bundesliga has since ended and Wolfsburg played their first game since Malanda’s death on Friday, Jan. 30 against the top team in the league, Bayern Munich. Despite Wolfsburg currently holding second position in the league, Bayern were largely the favorites in the game. Before kickoff, Wolfsburg organized a tribute for Malanda, in which a banner reading “Fur Immer in Urseren Herzen” (Forever in Our Hearts) was unveiled while fans in the stadium waved flags and held signs with Malanda’s picture and number 19. Everyone in attendance paid tribute with a minute’s applause followed by a minute’s silence. Wolfsburg players and coaching staff were incredibly emotional during the tribute, some nearly on the verge on tears.

In the game, it was evident Malanda was looking down on his teammates, as Wolfsburg took an unlikely lead in the 4th minute thanks to Bas Dost, who then doubled the lead with an incredible volley in first half stoppage time. Wolfsburg kept the pressure on as Kevin De Bruyne struck in 53rd, looking up to the sky after scoring. Bayern tried to get back into the game with a goal from Juan Bernat in the 55th, but Wolfsburg secured the win thanks to a sublime strike from De Bruyne in the 73rd.

Wolfsburg won in stunning fashion, demolishing Bayern and remembering Malanda in the best way possible: winning in memory of him. Wolfsburg will be playing the rest of the season with Malanda on their minds, cheering on his teammates from above, and giving them motivation to continue their success. While the game against Bayern was dedicated to Malanda’s memory, the remainder of the season will undoubtedly be played in his memory as well, not only by Wolfsburg, but by soccer players from all leagues around the world.

RIP Junior. Fur Immer in Urseren Herzen.