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Peng perfecting English, soccer at G-A

October 06, 2000

Peng perfecting English, soccer at G-A



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer


GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Shuaiming Peng plays soccer like he's on a caffeine rush, legs a blur of motion as he darts around defenders and tracks down long passes seemingly headed toward the endline.

His feet flash on top of the ball and, whoosh, it's off like a rocket, headed for the net or the oncoming strike of one of his teammates.

So it's a little ironic to hear what the Greencastle-Antrim midfielder hates most about American food.

"Too much sugar," he says through his always-present smile. "Everything here is too sweet. Americans eat way too much candy."

While he hasn't solved the American diet since arriving from China in February, he's more than mastered the area soccer patterns this year, helping the Blue Devils to an 11-2 record and first place in the Mid Penn Colonial.

"It's still a team game," said Peng, who has 10 goals and six assists. "You're not going to win it by yourself. We need each other."

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That's the whole sentiment that started his journey to southern Pennsylvania in the first place.

His mother moved here almost two years ago, married earlier this year and asked her only son to join her at that point.

"She wanted me here," Peng said. "I don't think she wanted to be alone anymore."

Upon his arrival, he started some intensive English classes, but still wanted to play soccer. The only problem: the boys team doesn't practice in the spring. And he didn't need a fortune cookie to tell him his future.

"I practiced with the girls," he said with a shrug.

For Peng, who played on a high-school level team at home, it was simply another adaptation to be made.

"In China, the game is the most important part," he explained. "Here, you worry about practice and grades and everything else. There, you just play."

Here, he also plays - hard.

"All I knew was that we had a new kid here from China," senior midfielder Josh Meketa said. "He came to practice and he fit in. He was used to things a little more slow with the way they play there.

"Here, we're more aggressive. Once he got used to that, he's been fine. And he brings in a finesse that we lack sometimes."

Now all the Blue Devils lack is a division title and some playoff progression.

Last year's team was shocked in the first round of the District 3 playoffs by a McDevitt team it had beaten in the regular season.

The solution isn't written in Chinese. Everyone understands this translation.

"If I learn something, I'll tell them, and if they know something I don't, they tell me," Peng said. "We all trust each other. That's very good for this team."

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