CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi FC Sharks soccer team is comprised of players mostly in their late teens to early 20s. The semiprofessional team plays in the summer and its roster turns over pretty regularly from year-to-year.
“Every year I get to meet new guys, many of them who move on to the next level, which is my goal as well,” said Sharks player and Corpus Christi resident Seth Korenek.
Korenek, a Ray High School graduate, is in his third season playing for the team. His fellow players come from across the globe, and they have a short time to build chemistry over the course of the season.
“The first two weeks, it really forces everyone to come together and to form a cohesive unit,” Korenek said. “The season goes fast — it’s 2-3 games a week, so you just really try to spend as much time together as possible to build that bond with the team.”
One Sharks player, Zedan Mutlu, has only been in the U.S. for two years.
Originally from Turkey, Mutlu spent most of his childhood in New Zealand and Australia. He plays collegiate soccer in Kansas, and this is his first season in Corpus Christi.
“You train with the lads here every morning, you do things with the boys every day, most of the boys live together,” Mutlu said. “You form friendships that almost seem tighter than friendships in such a short amount of time, it’s a very special friendship connection that we have here.”
As the native Corpus Christi resident, Korenek takes the new guys to the local hotspots.
“The beaches here are very nice,” Mutlu said. “I like going with my mates, going fishing every now and then, going out to eat with the lads. I’ve been enjoying my time here.”
Despite many players coming from different backgrounds, soccer is a unifying experience.
“We all come together because we all love the game. Good things happen when you’re playing with a passionate group of people that are like-minded,” Korenek said. “Every year it seems to work out.”