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The Promise of Men’s Soccer

“You won?” someone asked the soccer team after assembly. “Was there an opponent?”

“There was,” Logan J. (‘17) replied with a laugh. “We beat St. Joe’s three to nothing.” The team cheered.

Despite the notion of CPS as “Can’t Play Sports,” it’s not really fair to say that the men’s soccer team can’t win anything. Last season they won five games and tied two, and while St. Joseph’s may have only been their first league victory of this season, it was also only their third league game.

The win at St. Joe’s left the team hungry for even more victories一hungry, it seems, in more ways than one. The team has started meeting at lunchtime on Fridays to fill up on pasta before their games, continuing a tradition created by the women’s soccer team.

“We’re copying the women’s team because they’re better than us,” Shehzaib R. (‘17) explained between bites of spaghetti. “They have pasta for lunch and they win, so now we’re having pasta, so we can win.” Even Coach Godwin thinks the pasta might be a sign of good things to come. “The last time the team tried to do pasta was three years ago, and they only had one lunch,” he confessed.

High school soccer teams tend to be rather top-heavy: seniors take the starting positions and dominate the play, while underclassmen are lucky to be substituted in only when the seniors are tired. For the College Prep men’s team, however, this is not the case. Abhi G. (‘20) and Grant K. (‘19)  started last Friday’s game against Redwood Christian as midfielders; they immediately shone as talented playmakers. Miles D. (‘19) takes all the team’s free kicks, corner kicks, and penalty kicks一an honor typically reserved for captains and senior players一and does so with wonderful proficiency. Chris B. (‘19) dribbles the entire length of the field with apparent ease, and on Friday he delivered a perfectly-placed cross to Kabir B. (‘20). Kabir converted it into a beautiful shot that the Redwood Christian goalkeeper barely  managed to tip over the crossbar. Jackson O. (‘19) has, as George CK. (‘17) puts it, “some serious moves.”

“Yeah, Jackson breaks all our ankles during practice,” Grant chimed in in agreement.

“We have four freshmen and they are good,” says Godwin. “Some of them are too timid, but they will get stronger and then they’ll be very good.” Miles added on, saying, “Give us two years and we’ll be so lit.”

The upperclassmen are fabulous as well. Bad luck was all that prevented Tuna M. (‘18) from netting multiple goals, and seniors Ami S., Logan J., Kieran H., and Emile G. will surely be missed next year as invaluable midfielders, center-back, and goalkeeper, respectively. Their experience is clear from the way they seem to read the field a step ahead of everyone else in the game, and how they fearlessly take on opposing players.

The game against Redwood Christian ended in a 0-1 defeat, but it was still an exciting  game. For the most part, College Prep’s boys kept possession of the ball and prevented the visitors from causing too much trouble in the defensive third. “We started off pretty well,” said assistant coach Sebastian during his halftime pep-talk. “Now let’s get out there, relax, win the ball, and then attack.” And attack they did. Just minutes into the second half came Chris and Kabir’s play, and almost immediately afterward Stanley J. (‘19) followed up with a gorgeous header that missed the bottom corner of the goal by mere inches.

After the game, Godwin came out of the van smiling. “We all have our off days,” he said calmly. “I have a feeling this season is going to be groovy.”


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