By: Morgan Lane
The 2021 fall sports season was different to say the least, but Hammond boys’ varsity soccer continues to show perseverance and hard work to be successful on the field.
Boys’ varsity soccer has flourished this year, and has been performing exceptionally well. During the season opener on March 5th, 2021, they came out strong beating Atholton 4-1 and starting off with a winning record in the books. This was a big win against one of their rival teams, and a good way to liven up the start of the season.
The current record of the team is 4-3, and the team is hoping to come in the top 8 of HoCo teams in order to qualify for playoffs. Right now, they’re in a good spot, standing 5th out of all the boys’ teams in the county. In order to reach this goal, there is work to be done, but they’re getting better everyday.
“The team is improving our on-field mentality… last year, we displayed too much negative emotion on the field which was primarily focused on the referees. This created a distraction from the game,” head Coach David Reamer explained. Individual players are also working on their own to progress and contribute their skills to the team. Hammond senior and varsity goalkeeper Walid Khokhar stated, “I have trained all summer working on my diving and playing with my feet.”
With COVID-19 shaking up the normality of fall sports, boys’ soccer had to make many adjustments in order to make the most of their time. One major change is having one big team, rather than a JV and varsity team. There were not enough players to field a full JV team, which could very well be a result of people not wanting to potentially put themselves at risk of getting the virus. This allowed what would have been the JV players to be able to practice with varsity, to further learn and improve.
“Having what would be the JV players train to play in varsity matches greatly benefits those players… They are getting a firsthand look at the expectations and playing style being established at the varsity level,” Coach Reamer noted. In addition, all games are now being live streamed on Facebook Live. Anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable attending games can watch from home. This can allow them to see exciting games risk free, such as the nail-biting 1-0 victory against Long Reach back in mid-March. Game live streams are also a great benefit for people who didn’t receive a Hammond boys’ soccer game pass to get into the stadium.
The team plans to thrive in the playoffs this season and looking even farther into the future, dominate next season. A more “normal” season is also high on the list of wants from the players. The team hopes to see the end of COVID, as well as a more organization between JV and Varsity, to ensure practices are being held at the highest standard.
“Next year, I’m hoping to see a full team for our JV team and in general have more people come out to tryouts, and hopefully have more spectators able to come out and see our games,” sophomore and varsity player Diego Carino shared. The end of the pandemic can also ensure more games (including out of county teams) and a longer pre-season. The team is also hopeful that the high school soccer rulebook will align with the rules of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), giving more freedom of what can be done on the field for next season.