By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
May 12, 2010
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sometimes things in life are inexplicable. Maybe they happen by accident, maybe by coincidence or simply by fate.
||Julio Arjona and Moeryhan "Peabo" Doue have been playing soccer together since second grade.
That seems to be the story of West Virginia University men’s soccer players Julio Arjona and Moeryhan “Peabo” Doue.
Their relationship began years before the two ended up together in Morgantown.
“We grew up in Germantown, Md.,” Doue recalls. “My mom was looking for me to play, and someone recommended Julio’s father, Julio Arjona, Sr. She brought me out to a practice, and his dad actually said, ‘If you want to play on this team, you have to play against this guy [Julio].’ He was the star of the team. It was an MSI (Montgomery Soccer, Inc.) team, so it was a little classic team. We were the two best players on the team.”
It was from that moment that the two became inseparable. Doue and Arjona attended the same elementary, middle and high schools, plus spent countless hours together hanging out and playing soccer together on teams like the MSI Classics (U-8), MSC United (U-9), the Bethesda Roadrunners and Maryland ODP.
The relationship reached a point that wherever one was, the other was expected to be.
“We knew most of the same friends, so we would just hang out,” Arjona says. “Whenever some idea came up, I would just hit him up and see what he was doing. He used to always be at my house, so we just built this really strong relationship. We were always together.”
Doue reiterated the statement.
"Whenever they see Julio, they know I’m around, or vice versa.”
Not only has the friendship strengthened over the years, but it also has made the two a dangerous force on the pitch. For anyone who plays or has played sports in their lives, it’s easy to understand how building a bond with a teammate can make life on the playing field that much easier. After getting possession of the ball, Arjona searched and quite often found his go-to-guy, Doue, and set him up to make a play.
"We both know exactly how each other plays,” Doue says, with Arjona nodding his head. “We have the same mindset. If we make a mistake, we’ll take care of that on the next pass. He knows where I’m going, if I’m heading to the goal, and those long balls from him are deadly. That’s basically our connection that we had in high school. It’s tougher to do in the college scene because people are a lot bigger and faster, but we’re always on the same page. We connect a lot easier than people who are just getting to know each other.”
||The two have played on more than five different soccer teams together.
While it was hard to pinpoint a specific goal from their earlier playing days, the two consented that the “Arjona-to-Doue” connection was typical and happened quite often.
During their playing days at Clarksburg High, the two were unstoppable, leading the squad to division championships and regionals, while raking in numerous accolades.
Doue, who finished his career with an impressive 44 goals and 29 assists, admits he and Arjona dreamed of playing together at the collegiate level.
“We thought about it,” Doue recalls. “We never thought West Virginia first, but when we started talking to Marlon (LeBlanc), I liked the school. I don’t know if he [Arjona] thought of it – going to West Virginia. Marlon has a good relationship with him and his dad, but we knew we were going to see each other.”
In the fall of 2009, Doue – a year older – joined the Mountaineers, and for the first time in what seemed like ages, the two reached a divide in the road. Despite the 181-mile barrier that stood in their way, the two never ceased communication, and although their seasons conflicted, Arjona managed to find time to watch his childhood friend in Morgantown.
“My high school season was going on, too, so it was kind of hard,” Arjona says. “Whenever I had free time, I came down – I think twice or so. One time was my visit, but the other times were the South Florida game and UC-Santa Barbara game. It was good. It brought back a lot of memories. It made me want to be here even more.”
Even with his best friend at WVU, Arjona continued his impressive play at Clarksburg High, guiding the team to the 2009 Maryland 3A state championship and scoring the game-winning goal – an accomplishment he repeatedly reminds Doue about. Arjona, a highly sought recruit, continued to be pursued by WVU and many other big-time programs.
“I know West Virginia was one of my top choices because I met Marlon at a D.C. practice, and he seemed into it,” Arjona, U.S. U-17 National Team standout, says. “I always had an eye for it. What stood out to me was we were kind of the underdogs, and I found out everyone else was coming here. I felt like we were starting something new, so I wanted to be a part of it.”
In January 2009, Arjona committed to be a Mountaineer, solidifying his dream of playing with his life-long friend, Doue, at the collegiate level. By joining WVU, Arjona also was reunited with former D.C. United teammates Travis Pittman and Uwem Etuk.
Arjona enrolled early at WVU in January, giving him time to not only get acclimated to the campus and its surroundings, but also more time to mesh with his teammates and learn the system. Ironically, Arjona stepped on to the pitch for the first time as a Mountaineer in the spring season – with Doue at his side – on March 20 in their hometown, competing against Crystal Palace Baltimore at the Maryland Soccer Complex.
After playing a competitive spring schedule, the two appear to be back on the same page and ready to do everything in their power to become the dynamic duo that they were in high school.
“I know a lot of us have the same goals,” Doue says, referring to himself, Arjona, Etuk and Pittman. “If someone’s messing up, we won’t jump down their throat, but we’ll just talk to them, especially Julio and me because we’ve been dreaming about this for the longest time. We have the same aspirations.”
If their past success is any indicator of what’s to come for the Mountaineers, the future of the program will surely be bright.