“Fords Footy” finds success through Sixth Form leadership

Connor Cresswell clears the ball in a 1-0 win over Penn Charter, October 7, 2022 – Pierce Laveran ’24

October is always a joyous time at Haverford. Students settle into classes while school spirit ramps up and fall sports hit their stride. One of the most exciting teams in the Fall season is “Fords Footy,” the Haverford soccer team and the current Inter-Ac Champions. 

Haverford soccer has come out to an 8-2-1 record and is picking up momentum from wins over Westtown and Springside Chestnut Hill in dominant 2-0 performances. Just two years ago, soccer’s head coach and director left, leaving an opening. 

Stepping into the role, Head Coach Mr. Keith Cappo from the Shipley School feels confident about the team’s future. 

“I feel very good about this season,” Mr. Cappo said. “We have a lot of senior leadership on this team, and this has played a big part in our success so far this season. We also have several guys who spent last year playing for the JV team, and that experience and development have allowed them to impact the field.”

  While last year the team had strong success, Mr. Cappo is looking towards the new season. “Each season is different, and we have to continue to evolve as the season progresses into the Inter-Ac,” Mr. Cappo said. “I am happy with the progress the squad has made and the ability of our guys to fill the shoes left by some very impactful seniors in the ’23 class.”

The biggest of those names filling the gap from the class of ’23 are team captains and Sixth Formers Thomas Kaplan, Connor Cresswell, Jackson Raleigh, and Sebastian Perez-Gasiba, all members of the class of ’24. Kaplan believes that setting their goals high is the key to a successful season.

“I think the team understands our goals however ambitious they may be. For us, we want to win as many games as possible ultimately culminating in winning the Inter-Ac, States, and EA Day,” Kaplan said. “While this may seem very typical that a team wants to win as much as possible, I think that with the personnel that we have, each of those goals is extremely attainable. 

Kaplan believes that dedication and hard work at practice will pay off at games.

“I think the main thing for us is to make sure that practices stay competitive and that everyone on the team believes they can make an impact if needed.”

Connor Cresswell ’24 and Thomas Kaplan ’24 in a 1-0 win over Penn Charter last October – Dr. Mike Nance

These high ambitions and expectations are what fueled the team last year and this year they are expecting to stay amongst the top in the Inter-Ac. 

Playing soccer takes a blend of precision, agility, and unyielding determination. It’s a sport where every step is a strategic move, every pass a potential game-changer, and every goal an exhilarating triumph. On the field, you learn not just about the game but also about teamwork, perseverance, and the boundless passion that drives players to chase the ball with their hearts in every kick. 

“I think that as a captain my role is to try and be a role model as much as possible,” Kaplan said. “Whether it’s in practice or in a game the other players should be able to see that I am working hard and try to follow my lead.” 

“On the field in training, at this time of year, we are always worried about minutes played and keeping guys as fresh as they can be, while keeping the intensity high and being as sharp as we can be as a group.”

Coach Keith Cappo

For his role, Mr. Cappo takes a different approach. 

“As a coach, I have two areas on which we focus for each game: how we play well within our style and shape, and what adjustments we may need to make for our specific opponents,” Cappo said. “In our preparations, we will review our film, prepare scouting reports on our opposition, and implement a game model that will give us success on the field.”

Mr. Cappo also prioritizes balancing his athletes’ health and performance on the field.

“On the field in training, at this time of year, we are always worried about minutes played and keeping guys as fresh as they can be, while keeping the intensity high and being as sharp as we can be as a group,” Mr. Cappo said. 

As Fords Footy navigates their way through the heart of their season, their unwavering commitment to improvement and unity shines through. With each game, they carry the hopes of their fans and the promise of even greater achievements in the games yet to come, while also seeing development at the individual level.