Freshman Dylan Herrera controls the ball against Crystal Springs. (Photo by Danelle Brito)
Freshman Dylan Herrera controls the ball against Crystal Springs.

Photo by Danelle Brito

Team Toughs It Out Through Tense Season

February 15, 2023

The boys soccer team has had a rocky season since the start, from winning the opening game to tying or losing the rest. With tension over losing, tension over playing time, and tension over strategy, the players and coach have confronted a steady flow of challenges, but never given up.

Some players said the problem came down to team chemistry.

“We’re losing all the games,” said freshmen Dylan Herrera. “The team is bad, it’s the  players though, we don’t have any chemistry.”

Others said that the main issue was how to incorporate the large number of freshmen who joined the team. The new players didn’t have the same level of skills, but needed playing time to develop. Sometimes that playing time came at a critical moment, turning a potential winning game into a loss. One player quit over the coach’s decision to play freshmen in a game where the Panthers were ahead 3-0, although he later returned to the team.

“I don’t like losing, and I felt like [soccer] wasn’t worth my time,” he said. “We had different views on playing, and it was just bad.”

Although some players who quit are back on the team, the whole team has felt the immense pressure caused by the players and coach not seeing eye-to-eye. Team captain, senior Uriel Velazquez-Leon said that no one could have predicted the issues that they have experienced this season.

“This is not the season that me and the coach imagined,” Uriel said. “People leaving has been difficult for the team because we counted on certain people.”

Uriel and Coach Steve O’Brien both said they feel the tension within the group and wish they could fix it, but they also recognize that it is inevitable with the large number of freshmen on the team. Having so many new players means players aren’t comfortable with each other, and they have issues with communication, on and off the field.

Nonetheless, Coach Steve sees this season as a transition year for Panther boys soccer, allowing beginners to practice their skills.

“Over the next couple of years, it can be a very good team,” Steve said, “but this is a year where we’re kind of in transition from some older players….  And I think there’s been some frustration because of that.”

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