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BYU Men’s Soccer: Seniors leave lasting legacy for Cougars

By Darnell Dickson daily Herald - | Jul 12, 2017
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BYU's Emmanuel Junior Lartey (13) walks off the field after a ceremonial final start during the final game of the regular season for Brigham Young University as they faced FC Tucson on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU's Trevor Lesueur (29) makes a last-minute save at the net during the final game of the regular season for Brigham Young University as they faced FC Tucson on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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A scrum for the ball ensues during a soccer game between Wasatch and Maple Mountain on Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Spanish Fork. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU's Tanner Whitworth (6) attempts to head the ball during the final game of the regular season for Brigham Young University as they faced FC Tucson on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU's Trevor Lesueur (29) gets ready near the goal during the final game of the regular season for Brigham Young University as they faced FC Tucson on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU's Emmanuel Junior Lartey (13) is honored among other players of the team before a ceremonial final start during the final game of the regular season for Brigham Young University as they faced FC Tucson on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU senior Emmanuel "Junior" Lartey after his final game in a Cougar uniform on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

All good things must end, and Emmanuel “Junior” Lartey’s BYU soccer career ended prematurely last week.

But Lartey — one of three seniors for the Cougars this season — had one final chance to line up on South Field.

Lartey suffered a concussion last week at a road game in Colorado, so he was not going to play in Wednesday’s season finale, a 4-1 loss to PDL West-Mountain Division leader FC Tucson. But he was allowed to start at his normal right back position on defense, got a few kicks in, and left the field after the first minute to the applause of the appreciative crowd and teammates.

“I’m just really grateful,” Lartey said. “We had a great team this year and I’m really going to miss it. I really enjoyed playing with them. I learned a lot off the field. I’ll take some great memories with me that we made outside of soccer.”

Lartey, who helped lead Mountain View to the state soccer title in 2009, served an LDS mission to New York. That carried on the legacy of his father, Emmanuel Sr., who joined the church in his native Ghana and was the first LDS missionary from that country.

Lartey and his wife of three years, Andrea, are expecting their first child, a boy, any day. Lartey will graduate from BYU in December with a degree in public relations.

“I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together for when we meet as a team,” Lartey said. “More than anything I take away the aspect that I got to represent BYU for five years. I got to represent my team and myself. Now I get to represent something else — my wife and my family. I just understand better what it means to represent something special.”

As for Wednesday’s game, the Cougars will be glad to see FC Tucson forward Moshe Perez go back to Arizona. He scored twice in the first half, adding to the goal he scored in Tuesday’s 2-1 FC Tucson victory.

FC Tucson (9-2-2) led 3-0 after a goal by Wedner Delmonte in the 63rd minute. BYU finally got on the board in the 80th minute when Connor Fordham scored his team-leading fifth goal. FC Tucson committed a foul just outside the scoring area for a free kick. Fordham lofted a clever shot over the opponent’s wall and the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper for the counter.

BYU ended the regular season with a record of 4-6-4.

Also playing the final game of their BYU careers were seniors Trevor LeSueur — who started at goalkeeper — and forward Josh Hunter. LeSueur, who is from Prosper, Texas, is graduating in construction management and will return to work for his father’s construction company in Dallas. Hunter has a double major — finance and Spanish — and is preparing for a career as an investment banker.

“I’m going to miss them so much,” BYU coach Brandon Gilliam said. “They are so awesome and those three guys are outstanding young men. They are on to the next chapter and we’ll see what they’ll open up. The exciting part for me is we’ll miss them in soccer but they are all going to be so successful in life.

“Soccer ends and every one of our players, when they leave, do something big with their life outside of it.”

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