Zeke Seguro has been coaching West Hartford’s Hall High School boys’ soccer team for 28 seasons and has his sights set on another state championship for the Titans on November 19.
By Paul Palmer
Sometime on Saturday night, the season will end for the Hall boys’ soccer team in the LL State Tournament Finals, and for the squad’s seniors it will be the last time they play for the Titans and play under head coach Zeke Seguro.
Even after the joy of victory or the sorrow of defeat has lingered, players know they will continue to grow from the life lessons of their experienced coach.
During his 28 seasons at Hall, Seguro wasn’t just about building great teams, it was about building great men. He wants to teach them life lessons that go well beyond X and O on the pitch, and in return earns a love and dedication from his players that will last a lifetime.
“I believe in them and I want them to be the best versions of themselves,” Seguro said of all his players. His players reflect the lessons he taught them not only in how they play the game, but in how they treat themselves. They understand the value of teamwork and sacrifice some personal goals for the greater good. “They fill my life and passion with the way they treat themselves,” Seguro said.
Rebecca Lewis knows firsthand the respect Seguro has from everyone in the game. She started out as a JV football coach in Hall and said it only took one message from Seguro to make her feel comfortable and empowered. “When I started as a JV coach six years ago, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know if I would have any problems. Zeke pointed to me and said that was my coach and I trust her and that was all that needed to be said,” said Lewis, who went on to be an assistant on Seguro’s varsity team before becoming the head coach of the Conard boys’ soccer team this season.
His players know that Seguro can be a tough master, but they also know that his methods work. That’s why so many of them – especially his seniors – want to win that next title for him on Saturday night against Greenwich.
“It would be great to give him a title,” senior All American Lucas Almeida said. “He does everything to make us better. He puts a lot of work into it.”
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 on penalties in the semifinals of the 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 for having Zeke as a coach,” he said.
Under Seguro, Hall has become an everlasting force in football. After winning the title in 2019, the team was undefeated when COVID canceled the 2020 tournament. In 2021, Hall lost a heartthrob on penalties to eventual world champion Farmington in the semifinals. This season the team is unbeaten with 20-0-2.
Despite years of success, the state championship has eluded Seguro and his teams all but this one season. “He built such a culture at Hall. It’s ingrained and passed from player to player. They want to uphold the legacy of the players,” said Lewis. “He speaks to them from day one and speaks to them as men and they have to live up to that. He treats them as people and has higher expectations of them.”
It’s not uncommon to see and hear football alums at every indoor game. It’s 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 grad and when we talk about Zeke, he talks about him like a father,” Lewis said. She also recalls a very special moment when Hall was state champion last time and she was on Seguro’s staff. “When we won the title in 2019, there were alumni from a year ago to 20 years ago. He has so much love for each and every person that comes through the program. The kids feel that and know that,” Lewis said. “Without Zeke, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done this year. We still speak regularly and he’s one of the most influential people in my life.”
Senior co-captain Colin Fairchild had Seguro as his club coach and now his high school coach. Their player-coach relationship began around six years ago, and Fairchild is grateful for his time at Seguro. “He believed in me,” Fairchild said. “His goal is for us to become better people. He always wants us to be great people.”
Hearing what his players had to say about him and what he meant to them, Seguro stopped and burst into tears. “It’s a warm feeling to hear that,” he said, wiping his eyes. “I love them all. It’s refreshing to hear that you can make a difference. I believe in them and I want these kids to be the best versions of themselves,” he said while reflecting on his team.
“It’s a humbling feeling. These children bring me so much joy.”
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