Boys’ soccer heads through to CIF

Fans, parents and friends fill the stands to support the excitement and joy the community faces as they celebrate the accomplishments of the boys’ soccer season. From team dinners, to the final goal of the game, to when the clock struck zero, each and every player contributed their own strengths to get Boys Varsity Soccer to the semi final CIF playoffs.
13 wins, 26 games and 27 players. This is only the outline of a sport a person sees. However, a season to the players is more than statistics and records. It is about the dedication and training put in that created the outcomes of the teams’ games.

The preparation for a match does not begin only minutes before the kickoff, it is months and months of training. For Owen Creed, sophomore, this training is something he is familiar with, as he has been playing since he was 3-years-old. Each and every opponent has their highlights and challenges, so the team must learn advantages that they may have in the upcoming game. “We watched film from the game before and sometimes we watch film from [the opponent’s] game before and then we try to figure out who to mark and what their best strengths are,” Creed said.

Especially in a sport like soccer, teamwork is not just necessary, but also beneficial. Taking the time to build chemistry creates stronger bonds between players. Simple team dinner before every game helps the team build as one, and enjoy their time off the field with each other. These friendships are not only created off the field, but they are essential on the field as well. “We [are all really] close and it builds trust for who we give the ball to,” Nelson Majesky, junior and center-mid, said.

A typical high school soccer game lasts 90 minutes. Most believe that hour and a half is filled with passing the ball from player to player, defending the goal and dribbling the ball with their feet. And while those may be the fundamentals of soccer, the experience and emotions felt are far more important. “I enjoy being able to play with my friends and the feeling that I get when you have a good game,” Creed said.

As the clock strikes closer to the beginning of the game, teammates circle into prayer, hoping for the best of the match. The crowd of supporters motivates the players as they enter the field. “My friends and family cheer us on and this helps us get hyped up and have something to play for,” Jaden Griffin, sophomore, who plays both forward and winger, said.

Every player is key in the game, and each job given to their positions ensures teamwork and collaboration. Blake O’Hearn, sophomore, plays the striker position, and is in charge of being a player that others can count on for scoring goals. On the other hand, Griffin’s speed allows him to play both forward and winger, in order to pressure the other team and help his own team by creating chances to score goals.

Nothing screams community like half-times at Newbury Park High School, where all generations of soccer players join together on the field and play their own version of the sport. Whether it’s children kicking the ball back and forth, or high schoolers playing monkey-in-the-middle, half-time is spent with laughter and catching up.

The semi-final CIF playoff game ended in a loss for Newbury Park, with a score of 0-2 against Bell Gardens. Despite the disappointment felt by the team, the players were satisfied with how far they made it. “[I learned to] just never give up, especially because we were down multiple times and we came back,” Majesky said.

Throughout the season, the team was challenged with tough opponents, but they learned that having trust in each other conquers any difficulty they face. “A main lesson that I have taken is that it is never too late to come back and win the game, as anything can happen in a small amount of time,” O’Hearn said.

The experience of being a soccer player is more than those 90 minutes the team spends on the field. It is about the community and support given to each and every athlete. Going into the next season, the team has learned to always have confidence in their teammates, as that will allow them to reach their full potential. “We’re going to work as hard as we can with elite effort and connect passes and take [the] chances that we have,” Creed said.