Soccer Fords rebound midseason

Papi Harris ’23 eyes a throw in against Penn Charter, September 24, 2019 – photo by Yeshwin Sankuratri ’20

As we approach the fateful November 9, the varsity soccer team’s record stands at 6-5. Neither the coaches nor the players would say this was representative of the team’s performance. 

     With three of the losses coming from a 1-0 score, it’s easier to see how well the team has been playing recently. The loss to Penn Charter was controversial, as there were claims of a handball on the Penn Charter offense immediately prior to the goal.

     This team has many more underclassmen compared to last year, but the defensive line of the team is still mostly dominated by Sixth Formers and newcomer Fourth Former Andrew Johnson. 

     “The strength of this team is our defence,” Mr Keefe said, “but what has been getting better overtime is that we have lots of younger players who have joined in on the offensive end.” 

     The talented defensive line is key to the team’s strength. The team usually dominates possession of the ball and where they’ve struggled recently is converting those possessions into chances. 

     “The underclassmen, to start, didn’t really understand how competitive high school soccer would be. But I think now, each underclassmen tries to work their tail off in practice and prove a point that they are good enough to play and that they deserve to be in the starting lineup,” Sixth Form goalie Will Boyes said.

“Each underclassmen tries to work their tail off in practice and prove a point that they are good enough to play.”

Co-captain Will Boyes ’20

     Sixth Form defender Mitchell Hark describes the dynamic of last year’s varsity roster as “highly competitive” and that comparatively, this year’s team has less drive to win but “when we do play hard, it’s equally as good as it was last year.” 

     Boyes describes the team as “Very strong technically.” 

     Many players come from very competitive and strong club backgrounds. Because of the young offensive line the team is sometimes lacking physically compared to other high school teams. 

     Boyes said, “That’s not necessarily a problem if we continue to move the ball well and play out of the back. I think that plays to our strengths.”

     “It took us a while to find formation and chemistry amongst those players to figure out how to score goals,” Mr. Keefe said. “In recent weeks we’ve had a lot of players who have stepped up for us offensively.”

     Zach Seaman, Asher Laackman, Papi Harris and Zion Georges have recently been playing strongly.

     In regards to the teams expectations for the EA Day game, Mitch Hark simply states “We’re expecting a win.” Will Boyes says “Just seeing EA’s results so far this year, they’re probably a little weaker than they’ve been in the past. But there’s something special about EA Day and playing EA, so I don’t want to underestimate them.” 

Mitchell Hark ’20 on his way off the field in an 0-1 loss to Penn Charter, September 24, 2019 – Ethan Pollack ’21

     EA’s record is 0-1-2 while Haverford’s is 2-1-0 with the only loss being the aforementioned controversial loss to Penn Charter. The team played extremely well despite the loss with seventy percent possession after the goal and seven attempts on goal.

“We are a possession-oriented team who creates a lot of chances and locks down defensively.”

Head Coach Mr. Dan Keefe

     Mr. Keefe said, “EA Day is always tricky, because of the energy of the crowd, our players want to perform… harnessing that energy and making sure that our team settles down and plays the brand of soccer [that we know]. We are a possession-oriented team who creates a lot of chances and locks down defensively.”

     The Fords play EA for the first time at home on October 15.

Author: Obaida Elamin '20

Obaida Elamin serves as the newspaper's design editor for the second straight year. He has written for the paper for four years, often in the features, news, and sports sections. He also contributes poetry to the school's literary magazine Pegasus, where he has served as editor-in-chief for the past two years. Pegasus earned a Certificate of Merit, the CSPA's national award for its table of contents design in 2019. Obaida's favorite subject is science. He enjoys reading, playing video games, exercising and taking naps.