The current class 3A boys varsity soccer state champions began the season with an away game, beating North Broward Preparatory School 2-0 with two goals from the team captain, senior Benjamin Grossi. After kicking off the season with a win, the team held its home opener against Cypress Bay High School Nov. 20. Following an early goal from senior Sebastian Vidarte, the team ultimately took a 3-1 loss. However, the boys varsity soccer team is prepared to take on much more this season than just a little lightning strike.
“As painful as the loss to Cypress was, I truly think it was good for us. It was a reality check that we needed to let us know we can’t get too confident,” Grossi said. The Lafayette College commit and center-attacking midfielder earned his spot on the varsity roster as an incoming freshman, later acquiring his first championship ring during his junior year season; Grossi does not plan on easing his momentum this season. He notes that winning his second ring has remained on his mind since the season started, and he hopes to use his role as captain to drive the team to back-to-back state championships.
“Being captain comes with a lot of responsibility. It’s not only on the field that you have to be a captain, it’s off the field too,” Grossi said. “I do my best to motivate and drive the team through my personal experiences. I know what it’s like to win a state title, and I also know what it’s like to lose big games. So with all those experiences comes the knowledge and motivation I use for my teammates.”
With the help of Coach Todd Goodman, the team has fostered a connection that assists their dynamic on the field.
“Our strength is definitely the fact that we are a united group. We have chemistry and respect each other,” senior Osvaldo Souza said. The team has acknowledged multiple elements they must improve upon resulting from its loss to Cypress Bay.
As a defender, this loss has driven Souza to work harder and more specifically on his positioning. He does this with the help of his role model, Italian defender Paolo Maldini.
“When speaking of improvement, we need to work harder and know that every game is a battle. We need to be hungrier and more humble,” Souza said.
Junior Camilo Espinosa recognizes that the team needs to work on gaining better composure in stressful situations. “If we are able to achieve that, nothing will stand in our way of another state championship,” he said.
The team boasts an atmosphere of young, developing players looking up to a pool of influential older players.
“The seniors definitely helped me improve my quality of play and taught me that if we all work as a whole, especially when the odds are against us, we can defeat any opponent,” Espinosa said. “They motivate me by lifting my head up whenever I make a mistake and that helps build my confidence.”
Besides earning a ring, Grossi seeks to leave a good example for the underclassmen who will run the team next year. As for now, the boys will continue their plan of attack, refusing to let any more teams upset the balance, as proved by their 8-0 win against Stranahan High School Nov. 27 and 7-0 win against Hallandale High School Nov. 29.