By Alec Hennessy
Image Source: Scott E’s Blog
After a year online, we are welcoming back the Hammond Men’s Varsity Soccer team. The Bear Press was able to get a look into all the in’s and outs of one of Hammond’s oldest and most well-known teams.
The training is very rigorous and the players are devoted. The team ended the season with a record of 1-13. Though this was a rough start back from virtual school, they still persevered and have a plan to come back stronger next season.
While many of the Hammond players have been together for years, the Golden Bears started off this year with a new head coach, Hammond alum Elliot Quinteros.
Despite their final record, Coach Quinteros had positives to say about the season.
“I am tremendously proud of my team for their ability to overcome adversity and find the motivation to continue working hard despite the results we get,” he commented.
Over the course of the season, the players came together to form a strong bond and play hard day-in and day-out. The team was led by their four captains, Diego Carino, Manny Oyeyemi, Ben Gallagher, and Wahlid Khokar.
This bond paid off when the team won their first playoff game against Walkersville, 1-0. Senior Caleb Haber commented on this win, saying, “It was my favorite game we played this year.”
The Golden Bears went on to lose in the next round of the playoffs to Middletown, 0-2.
Their first game of the regular season was an away game at Meade High School, which they dropped with a score of 1-2.
The team would end up playing a total of 6 away and 7 home games during the season. Despite the loss, freshman Tim Keister thought the team remained “…positive but also driven and had goals that we wanted to accomplish.”
Specifically, Keister pointed to the regular season Winters Mill game on October 20th as a moment when the team came together and played well: “We lost the game against Winters Mill, but we came back before the game ended and it went into overtime.”
Coach Quinteros commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the team over the course of the season. “Our strength as a team comes from our ability to control the ball and string together nice passing combinations. We also benefit greatly from having high work rates off the ball and being aggressive on defense.”
“Our weakest area is height. We do not have many players who are tall. So when we play bigger teams they tend to have success winning balls in the air against us,” said Quinteros.
With this season in the books, the Hammond coach is ready to look towards the future. “Our coaching staff is extremely excited for next year. We are losing 12 very talented seniors. However, their leadership has motivated the younger players to work hard and follow in their footsteps. We should be a very solid team next season.”
Despite the record, the Hammond Men’s Varsity Soccer team managed to pull through and play well this season while having a plan to come back even better next season with a lot of dedicated new players, and much better team chemistry.
Senior Caleb Haber may have played his last game for the Golden Bears, but is optimistic about their outlook for next year’s team. “I think we will do a lot better next year because we definitely have the team chemistry we need. We will have more freshmen and sophomores who will help to improve the team. We have a good coach, so we should make another run at the playoffs,” he commented.