After a season of highs and lows, Fords soccer is ready to attack EA.
It’s taken a while, but the Fords have overcome many challenges since the beginning of the season, and have become a more mature group of athletes.
There were a lot of strong graduates last year, leaving voids to be filled by up-and-comers. The young athletes, tugging at the leash, did not come into the season ready to work as a team, or at least work with the same mindset as the upperclassmen.
Sixth Former M.J. Atkins said that the team lacked identity. It took a while to establish communication and skills within the team. But throughout the season, the younger players have adapted, and the team is now bonding more than ever, which produces wins.
The most glaring fact going into the date with destiny is that the Fords have already lost to EA. But, as anyone on the team or who watched that game will tell you, that final 0-1 score is misleading. Yes, the lone goal scored in the last minute of the game was a fluke, but on the whole, the Fords played a much stronger game than the Churchmen. EA only had three shots on goal the entire game. The Fords had more than fourteen, one of which was a penalty kick from Sixth Form Goalie Will Boyes, which just missed, hitting the crossbar. The team was devastated after that loss, but since the Fords know they have the skill, they expect a victory on EA Day.
Part of that victory will come from taking advantage of EA’s large field. Whereas Haverford has one of the narrowest fields in the Inter-Ac, EA has one of the widest. That extra space allows for more passing and should make it harder for EA to defend, in addition to getting their one hopeful shot on goal.
For the strategic pass plays to work, the team must develop a new plan of attack. That means getting creative, playing match-ups, and playing out of position, according to Coach Dan Keefe. This is directed towards the offensive end, though, as the team’s defense is one of the strongest in the Inter Ac. The Fords only allowed six goals in ten Inter-Ac games. Expect loads of scoring opportunities.
There are some worries, though. The Fords have yet to come from behind and win this season, so a win in this game will most likely have to come from a goal in the first half. Some of the young guys on the team have never played in a game quite like this. They will need to build their confidence and believe that they can win.
Andrew Johnson and Papi Harris are two young players who have been getting a lot of playing time this season. Asher Laackman has been productive too. All these guys will have to use what they’ve been taught by the upperclassmen so far this year. If they want to win, they need to work together and have faith in each other. Because practices have become more intense and meaningful, beyond just leisurely scrimmages, the team should be more competitive on the field.
Coach Keefe predicts that Sixth Former Luke Macaione will score the winning goal or have the assist. Whatever the case may be, expect nothing but the most effort and heart from the Fords on Saturday.