After a first round exit in last year’s CIF playoffs, the boys’ soccer team is looking to bounce back with aspirations of winning both the Mission league and a CIF title.
Second year head coach Kris Ward said he feels confident in the team’s ability this season.
“We definitely have the ability to win our league,” Ward said. “We definitely have the ability to win CIF. Those are my goals every year.”
Ward said he seeks to create a flowing, ball-dominant, high-octane offense rather than a nitty-gritty lock-down defensive style.
“We want to carry the ball,” Ward said. “We want to carry the play. We want to dominate the other teams and we have the ability to do that. It means that we’re going to be a little more open in terms of defending.”
Forward Borna Shoa ’18 said that the team’s camaraderie is its greatest strength.
“It’s a really well-rounded team with some really good freshmen and sophomores that help to provide competition with the other players in practice and elevate the team as a whole,” Shoa said.
This year’s team is unique in that it starts multiple freshmen and sophomores. However, Ward said that what they lack in size, they make up for in skill and knowledge of the game.
“I think we are more talented than last year, and we are also still very young,” Ward said. “Against Chaminade we started three freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and two seniors, whereas other teams we play have no sophomores or freshmen on the team, [they have] all juniors and seniors.”
The main issues that arise from having such a young team are fighting through fatigue and inexperience.
“Fatigue is due to a variety of reasons,” Ward said. “You run into finals week here, which is a difficult thing, and when you talk to other schools, they don’t deal with the same kinds of things that we do.
Furthermore, the high-speed pace of high school soccer means that the underclassmen must learn to adapt on the fly. Ward said he believes they have done a good job of this and will continue to succeed.
“They can solve problems in different ways,” Ward said. “I have to show them problems we have to solve, and help them to be able to solve them in different ways that they see fit. Their potential is untapped.”
Ward has expressed his pleasure in his players’ performance this season. He emphasized their ability to make their own adjustments without much critique from the coaches.
“They’ve showed some things in the games that are extremely high level,” Ward said. “Extremely high level decisions. Extremely high level problem solving. If we see glaring issues we might yell at them about something, but otherwise they’re solving it. That’s why we could be extremely dangerous this year and years to come.”