Hayes Heading to New Hampshire
Wethersfield senior Charlie Hayes with parents Steven and Melissa Hayes, along with WHS soccer coach Rob Jachym. Hayes will play college soccer at Rivier College in New Hampshire
Charlie Hayes, a senior at Wethersfield High School, has already overcome more obstacles than many people will in a lifetime.
Hayes’ next challenge will be playing college soccer at Rivier College after he was accepted into the New Hampshire school last month.
“The fact that it is a Catholic University with a great Criminal Justice program,” Hayes said of what enticed him about the Nashua-based college.
Prior to entering the high school, collegiate athletics seemed like only a dream as Hayes was battling for his life after being diagnosed with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, which is a rare disease that causes hyperinflammation and affects the functioning of your immune system.
“I was diagnosed with HLH and was given 20% chance of surviving. Having a goal of getting back on that field and having faith kept me going,” stated Hayes, “So I felt like I was just drawn to Rivier. Then I met coach [Hayden] Barbosa and just knew it was the perfect fit.”
Hayes sharpened his soccer skills at Wethersfield High, playing all four years and becoming a force for the Eagles, showcasing his ability on and off the field by making the All-Academic team during both his junior and senior seasons.
Last year he was the team’s leading scorer during the Eagles undefeated season, which culminated with a conference crown. Hayes finished with 11 goals and dished out 4 assists over twelve games.
Hayes noted that WHS head coach Rob Jachym was a big influence on him, “I will miss coach Rob’s practices. He had the best practices. He always made it competitive and fun. He is the type of coach you just want to leave it all on the field for.”
Over the last four years, he also played basketball and baseball and was very active outside of school, particularly in the local community. He was a volunteer and patient ambassador for Connecticut Children's Medical Center where he has been an integral part of their annual holiday toy drive over the past several years and helped with contributions towards and raising awareness around HLH.
In 2016, Hayes’ story of his own battle with HLH inspired the community. Wethersfield students, led by then-senior and all-state goalie Jimmy Slayton, started selling TEAM Charlie t-shirts to help raise money for the cause.
Five years later, Hayes is healthy and ready to attack the next phase of his life thanks to the support of his friends and family.
“Growing up I always had my dad by my side getting the training I needed. We were always talking about how hard you have to work to get there but when you do it’s the best feeling,” recalled Hayes, “[My dad] was an alum of Franklin Pierce University and it makes me so happy that I can not only follow in his footsteps but create my own path.”
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin