Trejos vs Manuels — showdown of the trios



Yaritza Trejo (12) fights for possession of the ball against the Collierville Dragons. While the Spartans put up a tough fight, they ultimately lost the game by a close score.

Aldair Manuel (10), Gael Manuel (12) and Ethan Manuel (10) embrace each other after playing a game together during their time at White Station Middle School. Every three years, the trio gets the chance to play together for their school’s soccer team. (MARCELA TAYLORS//USED WITH PERMISSION)
Crystal Trejo (10), Yaritza Trejo (12) and Jazmin Trejo (11) pose after winning the district championship against Germantown 3-0. While Jazmin Trejo did not actively play in the game due to an injury, she still showed up in her team’s uniform as an important teammate. (MARY WILLIAMS//USED WITH PERMISSION)

Who are better: The Trejos or the Manuels? Posed by many and answered by few, this question remains unanswered as White Station soccer’s two sibling trios have strived to outdo each other on the field for years.

Both the Trejos — Yaritza Trejo (12), Jazmin Trejo (11) and Crystal Trejo (10) — and the Manuels — Gael Manuel (12), Aldair Manuel (10) and Ethan Manuel (12) — share the same roots that inspired their love for soccer: their dad.

“My dad … introduced me to [soccer],” Gael Manuel said. “[He] put me in a rec team when I was little, and so it went on from there.”

After years of dedication to the sport, many of the siblings share the same goal of playing professional soccer one day. Together, they work hard to refine their skills and stand out from the average high school player.

“I’m trying to play D1 for college, and then if I get [into] a pro team like [the] U.S. Nationals team, then yeah, I’ll go there,” Jazmin Trejo said. “That’s how far I want to go.”

The older siblings — Yaritza Trejo and Gael Manuel — strive to pass down their superior skills to their younger siblings since they have had more experience on the field. 

“It kind of helps me, because if I practice with [Gael Manuel] it’s like, he has more skill than me, which helps me get better compared to playing with other people my age,” Aldair Manuel said.

Both trios have one sibling who is a defender, one who is a midfielder and one who is a forward. Consequently, the Trejos and the Manuels develop an exceptional team chemistry when they play a soccer game along with their siblings as they support each other through their different positions.

“[W]e understand each other,” Yaritza Trejo said. “We’ve been playing together since we’ve been younger, so I understand the way they’re going to play and the decisions they’re about to make, but when I play with other people, it’s kind of hard, and they don’t really play like your style, so it’s harder to conceive goals.”

While there are benefits to having siblings on the field, there are also drawbacks. Both the Trejos and Manuels assert that they reprimand their siblings’ mistakes more severely than they do their other teammates.

“I’m more harsh on my sisters, [because] I expect more from them,” Jazmin Trejo. “You know, I’ve been playing with them since I was young, so I know their full potential.”

While it may seem that fights from mistakes made on the field would carry on into their homes, both sibling trios have found a solution to maintain peace: discuss shortcomings briefly, and accept that what happened, happened.

“Sometimes we discuss it in the car, but … it’s not that serious, because at the end of the game, it’s just a game, and if we lost, well we all lost, and if we win, we all win, and us arguing is not going to change that,” Yaritza Trejo said. “Also, whatever happens on the field stays on the field, but most of the time, we don’t even worry about it.”

The Trejos and Manuels have played against each other in recreational teams and the annual soccer boys vs girls game for years; however, it was not until seventh grade when they actually bonded over their love for soccer and humor. While they remain competitive against each other, they also enjoy coming together to complete outstanding soccer feats.

“One time, we were at our practice, and me and Yaritza did this play … someone crossed it, and she laid it off for me, and I scored a really nice goal,” Gael Manuel said.

The two families strive to avoid hostile competition against each other, and even support each other at their games whenever possible.

“[We support each other by] going to each other’s games,” Gael Manuel said. “Pushing them before the game, after the game. Whenever there is loss, [tell them] it’s all right, but like tell them what they did wrong, what they can do better, but not screaming at each other …”

The Trejos and Manuels’ high competitiveness remains restrained by two shared goals: to do the best they can on the field and achieve their soccer dreams. While the question of which family is better soccer-wise may never be answered, it is certain that both sibling trios’ determination to succeed has made them some of the most entertaining rivals.

“I [admire] the passion [the Trejos] show on the field,” Gael Manuel said. “Like, even though sometimes it might be very very aggressive, they love the sport, and I like that.”