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Lexington boys’ soccer’s diverse roster reflects makeup of youth program and town

Lexington boys’ soccer coach Dastan Pakyari is happy to have a diverse roster reflective of the different backgrounds of people in town.Nathan Klima for The Boston Glob

A year ago, the Lexington High boys’ soccer boosters made shirts to celebrate the program’s diversity, sporting all the ways of saying “Go Lex” in different languages. It was an opportunity to celebrate the makeup of a team that finished 11-5-4 and advanced to the second round of the MIAA Division 1 Tournament.

This season, the Minutemen have a similar makeup: a diverse group reflective of not only the town, but how the town has embraced soccer.

“Whether you’re from Latin America, Europe, Asia, or Africa, soccer is a game that’s universally profound and beloved,” said Lexington coach Dastan Pakyari, who has the 11th-ranked Minutemen off to 2-0-0 start. “It’s nice to see that kind of within our team, you get a sense of that.”


Senior captain Joseph Adiwijaya noted that the Minutemen have players from backgrounds all over the world, “which I think is a great thing because, to me, it highlights the unity of soccer. Other schools might not have that.”

The town of Lexington, per the 2022 US Census, is made up of 60.8 percent white citizens, 18.6 percent less than the average in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. For Pakyari, a Lexington alum who was born in Sweden to Iranian parents, the diversity of the town is not only reflected in the high school soccer team, but in the town’s youth programs as well.

“Every year, we get about 100-120 participants. We see that diversity reflected in our teams and in our tryouts,” Pakyari said. “Some of these kids are first, second-generation Americans. It’s kind of nice to see that you have kids from all over the globe.”

Within the program, there are players with backgrounds rooted in Germany, Jamaica, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, India, and more.

The Minutemen are always looking for opportunities to expand their reach and continue to grow the game in the community. On Sept. 26, both the boys’ and girls’ soccer programs are partnering with Lexington United Soccer Club (LUSC) to host Lexington Soccer Night, in which both teams will face Reading, with youth games at halftime.


“Lexington Soccer Night is a wonderful example of the community spirit that Lexington has to offer,” said John Andrews, president of LUSC. “It is a great opportunity for the LHS players to be back in touch with the community that has supported them throughout their soccer journeys, and for the soccer community to celebrate these talented young athletes.

“It also provides an opportunity in our diverse community for our young players in the Lexington United Soccer Club youth teams to see high school players who look like them excelling in their sport.”

Lexington United hosts more than 1,900 youth players at all levels within the town, from pre-K through high school.

“I think it’s very big, maybe that’s because I’ve grown up playing soccer my whole life,” Adiwijaya said. “If you look at the town youth soccer system, there are a lot of kids playing at youth levels. I think a majority of kids played soccer at one point.”

With an experienced core of defenders — Adiwijaya, fellow senior captain Parker Hamilton, and senior goalkeeper Julian Del Angel-Flores — the Minutemen know they need that group to be a calm presence in the back. There are other experienced players, such as senior midfielders Liam Keis and Pedro de Amorrortu (who will miss the next few weeks to injury), but overall there is a youth movement in Lexington.


“It’s definitely a young squad with a lot of potential,” Adiwijaya said. “We’ve got a lot of very technical and very smart players. We want to try to base our game off the personnel we have obviously, and play to our strengths, which is playing really quick, technical soccer.”

Corner kicks

▪ The 17th Lois Wells Memorial Kicks for Cancer is scheduled for Saturday at Concord-Carlisle. The boys’ schedule features nine games, including prominent matchups between St. John’s Prep and Needham (10 a.m.), Newton North and Brookline (2:30 p.m.), and Concord-Carlisle and Lincoln-Sudbury (7 p.m.). Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. You can also donate at The proceeds go to ovarian cancer research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and $117,000 was raised last year.

▪ Due to weather postponements, a number of teams kicked off their seasons last week. Pembroke opened with wins over Duxbury and North Quincy, extending its regular season unbeaten streak to 33 games. … Melrose started the season Thursday with a 3-0 triumph over Reading behind three goals from Amir Lahkiky. … Staying in the Middlesex, Wakefield handed Arlington its first regular season loss since 2020 with Tuesday’s 2-0 win. … Winchester has outscored opponents 23-0 during a 3-0 start, with wins of 8-0, 8-0, and 7-0.

Games to watch

Tuesday, Hamilton-Wenham at Lynnfield, 4 p.m — Led by standout Dillon Reilly, Lynnfield has outscored opponents, 14-3, during a 4-0 start. Up next is a Cape Ann showdown against the Baker Division-leading Generals.


Wednesday, Gloucester at Peabody, 4 p.m. — Forward Gino Tripoli has nine goals in four games, powering the Fishermen to a 4-0 start. Gloucester will have its hands full in this Northeastern Conference matchup vs. a Tanners side that tied Masconomet last week.

Saturday, No. 3 St. John’s Prep vs. No. 1 Needham — A rematch of last year’s Division 1 state final, a 2-0 Prep win, this tilt at Kicks for Cancer is one of the top matchups of the season. Prep looks to rebound from its first loss since 2021, while Needham seeks to continue its strong nonconference season.

Saturday, No. 5 Framingham at No. 11 Lexington, 12 p.m. — These Division 1 contenders square off in a great nonleague matchup. Both teams are undefeated through two weeks and play admirable in their technical schemes.

Saturday, No. 13 Winchester at No. 17 Arlington, 1 p.m. — Winchester has a sterling 23-0 goal differential through three games, while Arlington looks to secure a key Middlesex League win after losing its first regular season game since 2020 last week.

Matt Doherty contributed to this story.