Now that he is a high school graduate, Zeuss Jimenez plans to visit his family in Mexico. Then, he intends to come back to Cheyenne and study welding at Laramie County Community College. Courtesy

CHEYENNE – Zeuss Jimenez excels at more than just soccer.

Although the Cheyenne’s South High senior is well known for his remarkable skills on the field, he’s also an outstanding, if somewhat reluctant, leader.

South High’s boys soccer coach Jeremy Francis said, “He’s a leader. He doesn’t always want to be, but he knows he’s been thrown into that role.”

He added, “(Jimenez is) going to do what’s best for the whole team. He’s stepped into some really heavy roles that not many kids could mentally take on.”

Francis said Jimenez has a deep sense of personal responsibility and a high sense of honor. He served as a starter on the soccer team for four years, and eventually became the team captain.

“He’s been amazing. He has 158 saves. He broke the school record. He’s blocked five out of seven (penalty kicks). Nobody does that,” Francis said.

“But the thing I think about when I think about Zeuss is all the obstacles he’s overcome.”

Jimenez immigrated to the United States from Sonora, Mexico, four years ago. His mother remains in Mexico, and Jimenez lives with his aunt.

He said he came to the U.S. because “education is better here.” He added that teachers in the U.S. offer better explanation of the material.

“They never give up on you,” he said.

Working with Jimenez likely was a pleasure for the staff at South High because he is consistently polite and respectful. He acknowledged that such behavior, especially toward adults, is part of his culture in Mexico.

Jimenez’s high level of respect for others never faltered, despite the challenges he’s had to overcome in the past four years.

Francis said, “It’s been hurdle after hurdle for this guy, and we ask more and more of him all the time. And he’s still showing up, still doing his job and still being a leader.”

When Jimenez first moved to Cheyenne, he knew only a little English.

His friend, Pablo Sanchez, helped him learn and acclimate to the culture in Cheyenne and at South High.

Sanchez, a junior at South High, emigrated from Mexico eight years ago, so he knew the challenges Jimenez faced.

“He reminded me a lot of myself from back then,” he said. The two have since become good friends.

“He’s a great friend. He’s really funny. On the bus, we just have so much fun – me and him, just annoying the whole team,” Sanchez said.

Jimenez said the staff in the English as a Second Language program at South High also helped him a lot with his English and his homework.

And being so involved with soccer certainly didn’t hurt. Jimenez also was an avid soccer player in Mexico before he moved to Cheyenne.

While keeping up in his classes and excelling on the soccer field, Jimenez also had to work to help pay for his needs. He said he worked a lot at various jobs, most recently at Guadalajara restaurant.

Now that he is a high school graduate, Jimenez plans to visit his family in Mexico. Then, he intends to come back to Cheyenne and study welding at Laramie County Community College.

“My grandpa used to do that in Mexico, and I liked it,” he said.

Francis said he thinks Jimenez’s plans for the future are solid because he knows Jimenez put a lot of thought into them, as he does for everything he undertakes.

“He is a son to me, and I couldn’t be (prouder) of him. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him, and I think he knows that,” Francis said.

Kristine Galloway, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s former education reporter, wrote this story for the WTE as a freelance writer.

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