Zeke Seguro has coached West Hartford’s Hall High School boys soccer team for 28 seasons, and has his eyes on another state championship for the Titans on Nov. 19.
By Paul Palmer
Sometime Saturday night the season will end for the Hall boys soccer team in the Class LL State Tournament final, and for the seniors on the team, it will be their last time playing for the Titans and playing under head coach Zeke Seguro.
Even after the joy of winning or the heartache of losing passes into memory, the players know they will continue to grow from the life lessons taught by their veteran coach.
Throughout his 28 seasons at Hall, Seguro’s approach has not only been about building great teams, but also about building great men. He aims to teach them life lessons that go far beyond and X’s and O’s on the pitch, and in return earns a love and devotion from his players that lasts a lifetime.
“I do believe in them and want them to be the best version of themselves,” Seguro said of all his players. His players reflect the lessons he’s taught them not only in how they play the game, but also in how they handle themselves. They understand the value of teamwork and sacrificing some personal goals for the greater good. “They fulfill my life and passion with the way they handle themselves,” said Seguro.
Rebecca Lewis knows firsthand the respect Seguro has from everyone around the game. She began as the JV soccer coach at Hall and said all it took was one message from Seguro to make her feel comfortable and empowered. “As I came in as a JV coach six years ago I was a little nervous. I didn’t know if I would have any issues. Zeke pointed to me and said that’s my coach and I trust her and that is all that needed to be said,” said Lewis, who went on to be an assistant on Seguro’s varsity staff before taking over as the head coach of the Conard boys soccer team this season.
His players know that Seguro can be a tough taskmaster, but they also know that his ways work. That’s why so many of them – especially his seniors – want to win this next title for him on Saturday night against Greenwich.
“It would be great to give him a title,” said senior All American Lucas Almeida. “He does everything he can to make us better. He puts in a lot of work.”
Senior co-captain Sam Sandler joined the Titans in his junior year and has been one of the team’s leaders ever since. In the moments after Hall defeated Norwalk in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the Class LL tournament, Sandler thought of his coach. “I knew what it meant for Zeke. I want it to be his second title. I’m so grateful for all these guys and to have Zeke as a coach,” he said.
Under Seguro, Hall has built itself into a perennial soccer power. After winning the title in 2019, the team was undefeated when COVID canceled the 2020 tournament. In 2021, Hall lost a heartbreaker in penalty kicks to eventual champs Farmington in the semis. This season the team is undefeated at 20-0-2.
Despite years of success, the state championship has eluded Seguro and his teams except for that one season. “He’s built such a culture at Hall. It is ingrained and passed down from players to players. They want to uphold the legacy of players,” said Lewis. “He talks to them from day one and talks to them as men and they have to live up to that. He treats them as people and he holds higher expectations for them.”
It is not uncommon to see and hear soccer alums at any Hall game. It is not uncommon to see Seguro laughing, talking, and hugging his former players. It is a mutual respect, appreciation and love that endures.
“My assistant coach is a Hall alum and when we talk about Zeke he talks about him like a father,” Lewis said. She also remembers a very special moment the last time Hall was the state champion and she was on Seguro’s staff. “In 2019, when we won the title, there were alumni from one year up to 20 years ago. He has so much love for every single person that comes through the program. The kids feel that and know that,” said Lewis. ”I would not be able to do what I did this year without Zeke. We still talk regularly and he is one of the most influential people in my life.”
Senior co-captain Colin Fairchild has had Seguro as a club coach and now his high school coach. Their player-coach relationship began about six years ago, and Fairchild is grateful for his time with Seguro. “He believed in me,” said Fairchild. “His goal is for us to be better people. He always wants us to be great people.”
When Seguro heard what his players had to say about him and what he means to them, he paused and teared up. “It’s a warm feeling to hear that,” he said as he wiped his eyes. “I love them all. It is refreshing to hear that you can make an impact. I do believe in them and I want these kids to be the best version of themselves,” he said as he reflected on his team.
“It’s a humbling feeling. These kids give me such joy.”
The Class LL state final will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m., at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford (where the Hartford Athletic plays).
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