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College Prep Men's Soccer Wins League

By Kanan C. '24

“The word Ubuntu, meaning “walk together” in Zulu, has defined the team this year. Our coach Michael [Osei-Amoako] gave us that word at the beginning of the year to motivate us—walking together towards a common goal,” noted senior captain Eliot H. ‘24 when I asked him to describe this team. Losing ten key senior players from the 2022-23 NCS championship season, College Prep’s men’s varsity soccer team has faced significant adversity. They’ve had to prove themselves time and again as a practically new team. From talking to the senior captains, I got a sense that the players’ expectations for themselves individually and as a whole team never wavered, even as there were doubts about the team’s prospects. This year’s team, against the odds, has succeeded—this time in a different fashion from their success last year. They’ve employed a youth movement led by a strong group of senior leaders. With six freshmen playing varsity, as well as four sophomores, College Prep’s young core will only continue to improve and grow as these players infuse the team with energy and promise.

Throughout the year, Prep has proved to be a tight-knit, extremely capable team with deadly weapons at the striker position—but more importantly a team with a strong passing game that prevents opposing teams from making significant advances. With this passing game, the Cougars’ defense has shut down goal-scoring. They’ve allowed only 8 goals in 14 games this season while scoring 34, resulting in a differential of 26. This remarkable differential has taken them to a 12-2-1 record, and an incredible 10-0-1 league record. One remarkable duo strikingly effective at their respective positions was the Boykin brothers—Baron ‘24 and Bastian ‘26. Baron’s foot skills wowed the crowd as he weaved back and forth, carving up the St. Joe’s defenders. Bastian, representing a solid part of the youth movement, impressed onlookers by showcasing his rapid acceleration, moving from running at high speeds to slowing down to control the ball.

College Prep’s Senior Night match against Head-Royce proved to be a thriller for the ages. Falling behind 1-0 at the half, Head-Royce took advantage of the Cougars’ home field—Tom Bates, which slopes with a slight downhill grade from south to north—and the Jayhawks were able to use their momentum to get a shot from 30 yards out that barely sneaked through. This fact, combined with a stronger wind blowing in that same direction, means that it is a substantial advantage to be scoring on the North goal.

The Cougars found themselves locked into a pattern of punting the ball back and forth, before Charlie G. ‘25 scored a goal (assisted by Baron), burying his shot into the corner of the net. Goalie Kevin Landaverde ‘24 saved multiple goals, keeping the game tied 1-1 as the second half’s final minutes dwindled. However, some weak defense allowed Head-Royce midfielder Alex Bruneau to score a foul shot, giving the Jayhawks the 2-1 lead. As the Cougars last breath of hope, a penalty shot was awarded as Head-Royce committed a foul within the box. Baron took the shot, slamming it towards the right side of the goal, but Jayhawks goalie Silas Farhang saved the kick. The Cougars would have one final hope, however, as Farhang left the goal area and Baron was able to retry the kick. The second kick, pushed towards the left side this time, missed again. The Jayhawks won 2-1, celebrating with great enthusiasm directed towards the Cougars bench.

Can they repeat their championship run from last year? To do so, say Eliot and Baron, the Cougars will have to channel ubuntu in each one of their remaining regular-season games, and throughout BCL playoffs & NCS. The Cougars’ championship game last year was a 3-1 win over Sonoma Academy, who they played earlier this season in a 2-0 loss. To come full circle and walk together towards a repeat NCS title, the Cougars will likely run through Sonoma Academy once again. They’ll have to win differently from last year, but this scrappy, young team has lit up the pitch so far—and in my mind, will continue to do so.


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