Boys’ soccer lacks upperclassmen experience, compensates with underclassman technical skill

December 9, 2019 — by Andrew Lee and Jun Lee

Upon moving down to the less competitive Division 2 for this season, the boys’ varsity soccer team hopes to regain its position by reinforcing the unusually small number of upperclassmen players on the team with an abundance of technically skilled sophomore players. The team finished off its first game with a 3-2 loss against Harker on Nov. 26.

Almost half of the team is comprised of sophomores, which is unusual for a varsity team normally dominated by older, more experienced players. Seniors winger Brian Wu and striker Joe Bruun-Jensen are the only seniors who remain on the team. Some of this year’s up and coming sophomores are center back Aidan Costello, center mid Etienne Casanova, goalkeeper Mason Manzagol and midfielder Andy Kohl.

As a result of the team’s younger composition, the difference in physical size on the field is an obstacle that the team believes it will struggle to overcome. According to Costello, the team is instead looking toward focusing on their technical skill and speed to compensate.

“We’re very young but very good,” Costello said. “I think that we are going to be physically smaller and not be able to match the other teams in that sense — but in terms of skill, I think we will be just as good, if not better.”

Because many of the sophomore players participate in club soccer, such as those of De Anza, West Valley and Almaden, they tend to have strong and advanced techniques, Costello said. Costello plays on the De Anza Force club team. 

“A lot of us play club soccer, and I think a lot of clubs focus more on passing the ball instead of just feeding it as well as efficiently moving the ball down the field which are essential,” Costello said.

Early on in the season, the team has already begun to observe strong team chemistry and connection, despite their first loss. Players are fast, even though they are relatively smaller in size when compared to to opposing teams’ players.

“I thought our first game wasn’t bad, though it was then that we realized that the opponents were really big and our sizes can’t really compare,” Costello said.

With only two seniors on the team, the varsity head coach Chris Stott is planning on scheduling gym workout days for players to gain weight to compete against bigger competitors.

During practices, the team tries to focus on playing more as a collaborative team, attempting to build as much team synergy as possible — something which the team felt was lacking during the previous season. 

“The team has plenty of potential. We have skills on our team and our team chemistry is building up,” Wu said. “We still struggle with games right now, but it’ll get better as the season moves on and we are more familiar with each other.”

 

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