One of the new players on the North Dallas boys soccer team is midfielder Sonnie Mathis, and he’s making his presence known on the field, with his leadership and performance.
“Sonnie is a very physical player and he’s outstanding — on the field and also off the field, in the classroom. He’s definitely a leader,” said North Dallas Coach Jonatan Benitez. “He’s a player that organizes the defense and offensive line.”
Sonnie and the Bulldogs will play the Molina Jaguars at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a District 12-5A game at Kincaide Stadium. The junior varsity game is at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to Bryan Adams, but they defeated Sunset 2-1 and tied Woodrow 4-4 before that.
“I feel like we’re doing really good. We had a rough start during preseason,” said Sonnie, who has scored two goals this season.
Sonnie comes to 5A North Dallas from 6A Lake Highlands, where he started for the junior varsity last season.
Asked if the competition is that much different, Sonnie said, “Not really. Not really different. Just different teams, different high schools that you’re playing. New faces, new teams, new people.”
Sonnie’s presence is known because he communicates to the players on the field — it’s just like having Coach Benitez on the field.
“I bring that to the team. I kinda have to hit them hard with it,” he said. “It’s like sometimes when I whisper to them, they don’t understand it. I have to say it with my vocal cords really loud, so they can understand it.
“It’s very big, very big.”
But Sonnie adds a twist — he speaks Spanish. He said his “mom is Mexican. She was born in Mexico. She came here at a very young age.”
“They took it as brand new at first. They thought I was just some white kid in the neighborhood,” he said. “But as soon as they got to know me, they understand that I was half Hispanic, spoke Spanish, then everybody started to understand me more on the field and off the field.”
Sonnie said he’s fitting in pretty well at North Dallas.
“I just feel like coming from suburban area to coming to this area is way better for me,” he said. “I’ve grown more. I’ve learned more of my team. I’ve become more of a leader, but at the same time, my team is leading me. It changes me at the same team.”