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Sports Spotlight: Boys’ Soccer

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A few of the varsity players cooling down after a game against St. Andrews Academy.

A few of the varsity players cooling down after a game against St. Andrews Academy.

Debbie Ross

Debbie Ross

A few of the varsity players cooling down after a game against St. Andrews Academy.

Mike Coons, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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The boys’ soccer team at Wilmington Friends School has always been known as an enjoyable team to join in the fall. In the past it has been stereotyped as one of the less serious teams, fueled more by a strong team bond than by winning records. With all of the hype surrounding some of the other fall teams, the soccer team sometimes slips into the back of many students’ minds. Usually, this is the dangerous place when a team’s performance suffers. This year, the soccer team has refused to accept this, ditching old stereotypes and replacing them with impressive wins in and out of the conference. The boys’ team has turned around the momentum of unsuccessful seasons, and over the past four years has consistently improved to reach the point which they are at now. They have earned their place in the Delaware soccer spotlight, and have made the entire community proud of their constant effort and sportsmanship.

While the stereotypes of losing seasons and lackadaisical attitudes have been abandoned, the team has embraced the notion of being a fun, inclusive team. Two-year captain Max Pickles ‘18 observed, “We have a really cohesive dynamic on the team, while we push each other on the field, we indulge in friendly banter off the pitch. We include every grade in our antics, which has brought everyone on the team together. We have the best starting record since I started playing, and the potential to have a winning season.” While having fun on a team might be associated with lack of discipline and drive, the soccer team has found the perfect balance of hard work and lighthearted moments. One of the key differences about this season is a strong core of seniors that have been playing on the varsity squad for four years. They have found this balance of fun, and are now leaders on a team which embodies an exciting spread of old and young talent. This group of seniors is not only setting the bar high with their notable performances; they are also raising the bar for talented younger players for seasons to come. Jack Taylor ’20 spoke about the hustle of captain Chad Connors ’18, citing him as an inspiration for the younger players, “I swear, sometimes I believe the flash is on my team. I see a streak of red as Chad Connors goes flying by, hustling after the play.” It is clear that the entire team respects their hard-working seniors, as the seniors mutually honor and push their teammates to reach their goals. This shared attitude has allowed for new players to flourish over the past four years, becoming state-renowned players. Danny Manley ’18 is a perfect example of the team’s success. Although Danny did not start playing soccer until 8th grade, his teammates’ encouragement has pushed him to be the player and role model he is today. Max Pickles ‘18 has seen him progress as a player, and is nothing short of impressed by his teammate, “Danny’s work ethic is incredible. The kid never gets tired. He does the work of three players, earning him recognition as third team all-state last season.”

The boys’ team has not performed in a playoff for nearly ten years. With records steadily improving over the last four years, this team is showing promise as the one to end the drought. Narrowly missing the playoffs last season motivated the seniors to try even harder in their last opportunity at a postseason run. As of now, the team has recorded five wins, three more than they accumulated in their entire freshman season. Their final five games have been described as winnable by many players, giving hope for a strong finish to an impressive season. The end of their season will be highlighted as they play against St. Andrews on Homecoming. Traditionally St. Andrews has one of the strongest soccer programs in the state. Instead of looking at this looming opponent with fear, the seniors see this as an opportunity to showcase how far they have come as a team.

Even though the soccer team has been out of the spotlight in past years, this year’s team has demanded their place through hard work, success, and a strong team dynamic. Regardless of how their season plays out, the entire Friends community is proud of the leadership, respect, and spirit that the team has shown this year.

 

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Sports Spotlight: Boys’ Soccer