Varsity boys soccer forms bonds on and off the field

Junior Kevin Briggs shoots toward the goal in a game against Sonoma Academy.

Con corde-with heart. This is something boys varsity soccer coach, Ben Philpot reminds his players before each game. These two latin words are written across the back of the boy’s jerseys and along their crest.

“To us, it means playing with heart, always giving our maximum effort, and playing each game like it’s our last,” Philpot said.

With winter sports in full swing, the boys have begun their season playing with a full heart. After ending the 2016-17 season with four wins, eight losses, and one tie in league competition, the boys, along with their coach Ben Philpot, who has been coaching the team for six years, have already begun to see an improvement with 4 wins this season.

Lashaun Ryan, the sophomore goalkeeper, said that coming onto a new team as the only freshman last year was very intimidating.

“I was very, very nervous,” Ryan said. “It looked like it was going to be a very difficult season.”

As the only freshman on varsity, Ryan came onto the team without knowing anyone. But in just weeks of knowing his fellow teammates, a bond began to form between the players that would increase their success as a team on the field. Ryan said that he was eager to work with  new players and coaches to further improve his skills and meet new people.

“I was excited. I knew I was going to make new friends on the team and get in good training,” Ryan said.

Philpot said that it is the player’s job, as part of a family, to help one another whether it’s on the soccer field or in school.

“We’ve all known each other for a long time and everyone on our team is close because of that. Every year our team gets stronger as a whole,” junior Andrew Rice said.

Rice, who plays center back, said that the chemistry the boys share has a great effect on the way they perform on the field. Their communication is strong during their games, and they work as a team, not as individuals. Rice said that if he were to describe the team in one word, it would be family. The boys look out for one another and continue to support each other in every occasion.

Not only are the athletes teammates, but their bond as friends is carried off the field and into their everyday lives. Last season, they shared laughs at team Christmas party, hosted by Philpot, where they participated in a Secret Santa, in which each player chose another player’s name and then bought them a silly gift for Christmas. Rice said that this party was one of his favorite memories from the season. They also celebrated winning their games with In-N-Out and the season always concludes with an end of the year party.

Philpot says that he is speaking for the whole team when he is requesting to see more fans in the bleachers this season. He sees a bright future ahead for his boys during the 2017-18 season and in the seasons to come.

“If there was ever a time to come check out the boys soccer team it’s this season,” Philpot said.