By Dom Nicastro
When Brayan Medina commits to something, he’s all in: passion, persistence, drive, determination. On the soccer field for Revere High School; for his Soccer 1 club team out of East Boston; his winter indoor soccer team, Fc Flair; his club spring team out of West Roxbury, Hammer Fc; math and computer science class in school. Heck, even when the 17-year-old junior digs into his favorite dish of his Colombian heritage, called Bandeja Paisa – a combination of Colombian sausage, beef, rice, red beans, a fried pork rind called chicharrón, an arepa, a plantain and a slice of avocado – Medina’s all-in.
Leader on and off the field
It’s that passion and drive that by next year will earn Medina a moniker for the Patriots soccer team never seen in Revere coach Manny Lopes’ more than 40 years as coach: three-time captain.
Medina served as captain his sophomore year and as a junior this fall on Revere’s 9-4-3 team that made the postseason before falling to West Springfield in the opening round.
“As a team leader, Brayan has the respect of his teammates regardless of class,” Lopes said. “His play does the speaking for him but his attitude and sense of humor binds a team together. His locker room presence is like one I have never seen. He is confident and demanding of his teammates. He’s a leader. He ramps up his teammates. He’s always positive.”
Medina’s been playing soccer since he was four years old. He’s been on the varsity team since his freshman year.
Medina stands at five feet, 4 inches. But if leadership and soccer ability were measured by height, Medina would be in the Jayson Tatum category.
He tossed in six goals and added three assists, but his contributions are measured far beyond the scoreboard, according to his coach. “As far as statistics Brayan was amongst the team leaders in scoring and assists,” Lopes said. “He is a dominant defensive midfielder despite only standing 4-11. He has out-jumped players taller than him and out-skilled players viewed by many as top high school soccer players in Massachusetts. He is often congratulated by opposing coaches for his play and leadership.”
His efforts earned him a first-team Greater Boston League All-Star for the past two years and a second-team GBL All-Star his freshman year. The last two years, Medina has been recognized by the Eastern Massachusetts Soccer Coaches Association (EMSCA) as an All-Star, and this year he has also been named to the EMSCA All-State team after being recognized as the No. 2 player in the GBL.
A captain’s responsibility
Those resume-building accolades aside, Medina may just be most honored with the “C” label.
“Being captain of a high school team since sophomore year has been an honor,” Medina said. “As captain, an every-day goal was to make sure everyone is improving, whether it’s a practice game, a win or a loss. I wanted everyone to stay positive and not let their confidence drop. The two other captains were João Victor and Juan Pablo. Two great confident players that would give it all once they stepped onto the field.”
Medina wants nothing more than to build connections with team players and create “unbreakable relationships on the pitch.” Revere missed the postseason last season. Medina wanted more for himself and the team.
“It’s difficult to encourage older teammates to get out of their comfort zone,” Medina added. “However, I was able to instill confidence in them to reach new heights the team hadn’t reached the previous season.”
Family influence and legacy
Medina’s family – his mother is Luz Restrepo and father is Edgar Medina – came to the United States from Colombia, arriving in Boston in 1998. His parents instilled the concept of working hard for everything you get: They have always worked two full-time jobs each for the past 25 years. They work at a cleaning company, and Medina himself takes on part-time jobs with them.
The young man has also been inspired by his older brother Daniel Medina. He played for Fenway High School in Boston and with Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill. Daniel wanted to play professionally ever since he started soccer at five years old. But life said otherwise. He had to work to make money to pay for college. Further, due to being an undocumented citizen, he couldn’t qualify for scholarships or loans and had to pay for college outright.
“He was dropped from his college team since he couldn’t show up for every practice because of work,” younger brother Medina said. “That year they went on to be state champions in their division. He immediately called me that night and told me his dream was crushed but I was in position to live the dream. Since that day he motivated me to become the player I am today. Every victory is for my family and those who couldn’t live the dream.”
Medina’s had many coaches throughout the years who’ve taught him how to get better and improve in every single way.
He credits his older brother for introducing him to the “beautiful game.” Daniel is the person “who was there when nobody believed in me and is that person to this day helping me improve.”
The ‘beautiful game’ and academic, social pursuits
For now, Medina’s gearing up for winter indoor soccer with Fc Flair, and in spring he’ll play for a club in West Roxbury called Hammer Fc.
“Soccer is my only sport,” Medina said, “and the weather can’t stop me from doing what I love most. The weather is part of the game; it’s what makes it interesting and fun.”
Academically, he’s interested in a lot of different subjects. He enjoys learning about math and technology. “As for favorite classes, I really enjoy math and computer science,” Medina said. “They challenge me, and knowing I need to work to get the results I want is what makes it enjoyable. As for what I might do after high school, I’m still exploring my options. I’m considering pursuing a career in technology or business administration and financing.”
Summertime is all about getting even more time to focus on himself and soccer. He prepares himself mentally and physically for the next season with two practices a day – sunrise and sunset – and he eats healthy and makes sure teammates are also on a path of improving and striving for success.
And, of course, mixed in all the soccer and academic obligations is family time. On the weekends, Medina’s family always gathers together to spend time with each other and watch Colombian soccer. They enjoy going to church on weekends as well.
Colombian Independence Day is July 22, and festivals happens around that time. In the festival, music is played, Colombian food gets consumed and Colombian dance groups get on a stage and dance. The festivals happen in and around Suffolk Downs, Revere Beach and East Boston.
Quest for Greater Boston League title
Medina’s already got an eye on the 2024 Patriots. Serving as captain – again – he’s got big hopes to even get better and ascend to the top of the GBL after finishing in third place this season.
“After being one of the top teams fighting for the Greater Boston League title this season and not being able to win, I am confident that everyone next year is going to stay motivated and give it their all to bring that title home,” Medina said. “We feel like we got a taste of what we can do as a team but didn’t get the chance to fully showcase what we can do.”