CEDAR RAPIDS — The boys’ state soccer tournament has begun and Andelo and Lidija Mijatovic can’t wait.
The Mijatovics will see their son play in person for the first time in almost two years.
Their son, Andrija Mijatovic, is a senior at Cedar Rapids Xavier, a foreign exchange student from Croatia. He is the top scorer for the Saints with 21 goals heading into today’s Class 2A state quarterfinal against Knoxville.
He wants to make his last games playing for Xavier as memorable as possible.
“I would love to make them proud,” Andrija said. “I know they are already proud, but I want to do my best for them.”
Andelo and Lidija endured a nine-hour flight to get to Cedar Rapids, and this is their first time in America. Along with seeing Andrija play, they came to see him graduate from high school and meet his host family.
“The state tournament will be fun for me to watch,” Andelo said. “We have been sent videos of Andrija playing soccer here, but it is different than real life.”
Andrija has missed his home and family, but plans to attend Mount Mercy University next year to become a physical therapist.
“I missed my boy and I am proud of how much he has grown in the past years,” Lidija said. “I am not ready for him to stay for longer here but I want him to do what is best for his happiness and future.”
The Saints are the top seed in the 2A field. This is their 11th year straight state tournament.