Boys soccer resets after historic season

The boys varsity soccer team gathers before a game against Clarksburg HS on Sept. 11. The Rockets defeated the Coyotes 3-0 to win their first game of the season.
The boys varsity soccer team gathers before a game against Clarksburg HS on Sept. 11. The Rockets defeated the Coyotes 3-0 to win their first game of the season.
Patrick Agustin

Richard Montgomery’s boys varsity soccer team enjoyed a very successful season last year. With a team composed primarily of seniors, they won regionals and rose all the way to states before being eliminated by Severna Park HS. This year, with the seniors gone, the team has had to refill its roster. However, they still aims to outdo last year’s record.

Last year, the team had over 10 seniors, most of whom were starters. This means that losing them has had a definite impact on the team. “Last year we had 12 seniors compared to 5 this year,” senior defenseman Sebastien Pop said. “We’ve lost experience on the team however the younger team brings more energy on the field.”

The new seniors on the team have taken responsibility to show the younger players how to play. “Being one of the only players with varsity and playoff experience, I have to help the younger players calm down and play as a team as well as coach them to fit into our style of play,” Pop said.

 With just a few seniors on the team now, they each must demonstrate to the younger players on the team how to be a good leader. “Just being a leader will give the juniors an example to follow for next year,” senior goalkeeper Jacob Swibel said. “I feel that I can use my responsibility to be a role model on the team, be the hardest worker, and be exemplary on and off the field. I want to show my teammates what it means to be a Rocket and how to play for the badge.”

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This year, we have a very young and youthful team where we can still compete at a very high level. Even though we have lost a lot of integral players to our team, we still hopefully can improve on our season.

— Matete Nkhasi

As the team has had to recover from losing over ten members, they have had to adapt. “The only thing we can do to deal with the loss is train the younger kids to bring the same intensity and heart to practice and games,” Pop said. “These changes have been beneficial as the team has matured very quickly over the course of the season.” 

The boys have also had to rebuild the team spirit off the field. “This year, we have done team bonding activities such as dinners together and hanging out with each other outside of practice,” Swibel said. “We really want to play and win as a family and these activities have helped us learn our strengths and weaknesses.”

Despite losing last year’s seniors, the boys show confidence in their potential this year. They truly believe they can win regionals again. “We just need to improve on a couple of small mistakes, and we can go back to back,” senior defenseman Matete Nkhasi said. “This year, we have a very young and youthful team where we can still compete at a very high level. Even though we have lost a lot of integral players to our team, we still hopefully can improve on our season.”

The boys express satisfaction with their current record. They have won two of their three games and tied the other. So far, only one goal has been conceded while they have scored six. “We’re at the midway point of our season and our chemistry is building,” Swibel said. “We’re starting to play less selfishly and play more for the team. We’re starting to have more fun out on the field, and we’re hungry for wins.” 

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