Chris Wey has loved soccer since he was a child and is now getting a chance to play professionally with the Indy Eleven, the new soccer team in Indianapolis.
But he doesn’t get to play before saying good-bye to his fifth-grade students at Garden City Elementary School.
“I’ve loved soccer my whole life,” Wey said. “I figured I’m not getting any younger so I thought I’d try. This has been a goal of mine.”
Wey grew up in Munster and played soccer at IUPUI from 2004 to ‘07. He also spent time with Futbol Club Indiana of the National Premier Soccer League in 2009 and with Premier Arena Soccer League’s Indy Elite in ‘12.
He has also coached the Westside United Futbol Club, a premier travel soccer organization for children from Wayne Township and other communities on the west side of Indianapolis.
Wey has been teaching at Garden City for three years and said this class has been fun to teach.
“These have been great kids,” Wey said. “They are true fifth-graders in every sense of the word. They’re so much fun to teach.”
Recently, he recalled, one of his students talked to him about the discipline in their classroom.
“She said, ‘Mr. Wey, you don’t really ever give any of us any levels,’” Wey said. “If a student needs disciplinary action we put them on a different level. I don’t here. I don’t have to do that because they’re just good kids. We just haven’t had disciplinary problems.”
His class held a special surprise party Jan. 31 which was his last day in class. When he entered the room they yelled “surprise” and went on to dance to the song “The Fox.” Wey was smiling ear to year when he saw how excited his students were for his opportunity to play for Indy Eleven.
“This is just so cool,” he said. “They’re great kids.”
Wey’s students are excited to see their teacher play professional sports but are sad he’ll no longer be their teacher.
“He’s a good teacher,” Jamirah Harris said. “When we do something good, he gives us parties.”
Harris is one of the fifth-grade students in his class. She, along with her classmates, say they’re going to be rooting for Wey’s team.
Kaden Wesley said Wey made learning enjoyable.
“He’s funny and tried to make class fun,” Wesley said. “Sometimes after specials (special classes) he would let us go outside to play and get exercise.”
Eleowyn Romansky said she’s sad to see him go.
“Mr. Wey is fun and I love it when we have parties,” Romansky said. “I’m really going to miss him.”
Wey is already working with the school system to get the students into some Indy Eleven games and maybe even a field trip to where the team plays at IUPUI.
The Indy Eleven continues to prepare for its inaugural season, which will kick off in April at IUPUI’s Michael Carroll Stadium.