By: Cían McCarthy
For the JV boys soccer Chargers, it’s been quite the season. If you’re unfamiliar with the track record of the JV boys soccer team… it’s probably for the best. Out of eight games played this season, the JV boys soccer team tied one game and lost seven.
As a member myself, it’s clear that JV boys soccer isn’t about winning or losing. For many of the players, it’s about the journey. Exercises, scrimmages, and warm-ups merge to create a good time, with a fun atmosphere and a hardworking team. Despite all the hardships we encountered on the pitch, time and time again we continued to improve in practices and form a team dedicated to improvement in our communication and our play on the field.
Starting midfielder for the JV boys soccer team Matthew Shepherd spoke about some of the pitfalls. “Some of our better players got some cramps at the end of most games, and we kind of fell apart there, especially in the games with minimal subs. But I think we kept going even with all the losses.”
I couldn’t agree more. We had some unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances, but we did persist through the storm. Shepherd agreed. “I think we grew as a team; we played a lot better as the season went on.”
Will Florell, an esteemed member of the team, said, “Personally, I think we did maybe better than last year, although I’m not sure. We got one tie, the rest all losses, but it was fun.”
For a team to grow, each individual player must grow first. And we did. Each player dedicated his time every week to his practice and to the team itself, and as we raked in loss after loss, our hunger for improvement—and our appreciation for a more laid-back atmosphere—grew exponentially.
Shepherd, embodying that atmosphere, said his favorite part of the season was “probably talking to the other team during the game. That was pretty cool. [To] meet some new people. Just, you know, talking to each other.”
In the January 6th game against Calvary Christian, which was lost 2-0, the team particularly seemed to have fun together regardless of the loss on the field. JV boys soccer is about community and being a part of a team. Florell said that no matter how poor our record was “I think it was worth it, as I got to spend time with some of my great friends, like Matthew White [a Varsity player who has often played with the JV boys team] and Cían McCarthy [thanks, Will]. Honestly, I think I’ve gotten to know so many more people so much better than I ever have.”
Many other games throughout the season included banter—mostly nice, mind you, although there were a few incidents of cursing and trash-talk carried out by (and I’m happy to say) the other teams.
The referees, too, sometimes seemed to be against the team. Head coach Casey McDonough even had a small run-in with one on the field that resulted in a two-game suspension. When asked whether the referees were fair, Florell said, “I thought the referees were…some of them were interesting, some of them certainly had some bad calls. I’m not sure I’d say fair, but, maybe a few of them were a bit blind, maybe a few of them were a bit biased, but other than that, they were okay.”
The team learned that it is important to remember that sports leagues are built around an idea of competition, but our opponents are not the enemy—that’s why the JV boys team would talk to their opponents on the field and laugh about the game, the refs, or the entire team, substituting their players out at the same time (as happened in the Calvary game). The team’s goal was to improve, and if that meant we played a great game but happened to lose 2-0, then the team accepted that. We were happy with the outcome because we knew we did our best: we won against ourselves.
So, there you have it, folks. A few biased referees (to be expected), a few bad calls, but overall a good season hanging on some rough times. If anything is to be learned from the 2021-2022 JV Shorecrest Boys Soccer team, it’s that no matter your level, and no matter what you deem as success, the real success occurs by getting out there and putting effort into anything you do.
I’d like to additionally recognize coaches Casey McDonough and Clark Sukaratana for their expertise and training. Without them, we certainly wouldn’t have had the same levels of success that we saw within our team.
I talked to head coach Casey McDonough for a brief Q&A. Here’s what he had to say:
What was your overall impression of this season? How do you feel we did, despite our losses?
“I feel that, despite our losses, we played a really solid season. Every team we played against was fully rostered with year-round soccer players, and we lacked that experience. What we had were a lot of guys who really wanted to enjoy themselves, who refused to give up when we were down and who put in the work right up until the final whistle each and every game. We never lacked effort, and as a coach that pleases me more than anything else.”
What happened in the game you were ejected from? How do you feel about this?
“The red card came against Berkeley Prep at home. We were competitive against Berkeley when we played them this season, and we had a chance to win both times but didn’t. In particular, in the first game we played on their field, we lost 1-0, scoring our own goal. I was focused and feeling the intensity. The game was poorly controlled by the two referees throughout, and I was growing concerned a player might get hurt. In the second half, a Berkeley player clearly and aggressively fouled a Shorecrest player, and I protested. Apparently, the SPS player also protested, and not only didn’t get the foul but was shown a yellow card and sent off. The referees didn’t follow protocol and allowed the game to proceed without a replacement SPS player to come on the field, and my temper boiled over. I told the referee the game was getting ridiculous, and followed that up with the remark that she was being insane. She came over and immediately showed me a red card.
While I didn’t use any foul language, and I didn’t make any threats, I did violate the rules by contesting the referee’s decision, and I deserved a reprimand to say the least. The result of the scenario is that I was kept from coaching for two games, and that happened to be a point in the season when we were gaining momentum and growing as a team. It was an ugly distraction from what we came to do, which is to play soccer. I deeply regret having been sent off in this way, and I spent some time speaking with my players about my behavior and accepting consequences even if you disagree with them.”
Do you have a favorite moment that you’d like to share?
“The highlight of the season for me was seeing Jack Satterfield score his first goal. His effort is unmatched, and he’s been rewarded with a spot on the Varsity roster for the remainder of their season.”
Thanks to all who agreed to an interview, and thanks to the JV boys soccer team for a great season.