BRAD ROBICHAUX — Young athletes show hard work pays off

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020

There aren’t enough opportunities for all of the bright young students in our high schools to attend college. As important a college education can be in this age, such opportunities can make a world of difference for the ones that take them and for their futures.

What does it take to get one of these opportunities, though? Hard work, of course. That’s going to be the case whether you’re pursuing an academic scholarship or an athletic scholarship.

I got the chance to speak to some talented young football players at Memorial High School last week. Branden Chaney, Tre’Vonte Caines, Jaylon Guilbeau and Jordan Thomas, all underclassmen, told me about some of the looks they were already receiving from colleges recruiting them.

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Talent certainly plays a role in the attention these players are receiving, as does Memorial’s history of turning out quality college players like Kary Vincent Jr. One thing that struck me, though, was all of these young men professed a dedication to improving their game that entailed daily input and effort.

“It takes hard work and dedication,” Guilbeau told me. “I’m grinding everyday, hitting my books and staying on top of my grades. After my grades, then it’s the weight room, then the field.”

Rylee Miller, Grace Richard, Morgan McBride

Over at Port Neches-Groves High School and Nederland High School, three soccer players are taking their own games to the next level by branching out and testing themselves against the best players in the state.

Rylee Miller and Grace Richard of PNG and Morgan McBride of Nederland tried out for and were selected to join the South Texas Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Team. They are a part of a pool of other players in the 2003-2004 age group that practice together and compete for spots on regional and national teams.

All three players told me these teams are great opportunities to be seen by scouts and colleges looking to recruit.

Being counted among the best in the state does wonders for their confidence, too.

“I work hard to go play in college,” McBride said. “To know that I can make it into that, it helps me believe I can do more than just high school.”

The unifying principle behind all of the doors that are opening up for these kids lies in the effort they’re putting forward to find those doors in the first place. They all know what they want to do, and they’re working their hardest to get better. As a result, they’re getting noticed.

This isn’t really a secret. The reason the adage, “Hard work pays off,” gets thrown around so much is it’s not just a platitude that gets people motivated. It turns out that it’s actually true, if these young people’s experience is any indication.

We can’t do the work for them, but we can encourage and support them, whether it’s in athletics or academics. As for the students — give your best effort and leave it all on the field.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at