Published Dec. 14, 2023
BY ANNA PRESCOTT
Through team chemistry and attention to athleticism, the Carmel High boys’ varsity soccer team is hoping to attack this winter season and overcome the tough losses they faced in their first two matches.
Despite the graduation of five seniors last year, including two of their three captains, Fenris Hadi and Brody Mendez, the group remains strong with 11 returning and five new varsity players and is extra ambitious this season.
“Our squad is still pretty much the same, so I think that we will have good chemistry and be able to hopefully make a run for the playoffs,” says senior Ryder Scheid, a four-year varsity player and one of this year’s team captains, along with senior Isaac Martinez and junior Alejandro Martinez.
As the players pass soccer balls and jokes back and forth to each other on the field while they wait for practice to start, it is evident how close they are.
“I’m super excited about the energy on the team, the camaraderie that’s already been established and the work ethic and team unity that’s already been developed,” explains coach Scott Hirschfield, the man behind the team’s powerful synergy.
In his second year coaching at CHS, Hirschfield builds their connectivity through combined practices and scrimmages with the junior varsity players.
“He has been doing a lot of joined JV and varsity scrimmages, which has been great for our team because we get to see the level we are at,” explains senior Enzo Gomez, one of the new players on varsity this season. “We have been doing a lot of team bonding, a lot of runs, and definitely we’ve been getting out there and putting in the work.”
As well as building excellent chemistry, this year’s team is also emphasizing athleticism. Practicing daily after school until the sun goes down, the team members work on boosting their tactical skills. The coach focuses on both defensive and offensive tactics and how the players can utilize them both singularly and as a group.
“We work individually on score finishing, trying to put the ball in the back of the net, and then also as a group trying to get ourselves into positions to score,” explains Hirschfield.
Fitness is keystone to the soccer team’s success and is also a current focus of the soccer team’s after school practices.
Scheid explains that they’re working on improving their fitness during training, since that was one of the team’s weaker points last year.
“Hopefully we’ll be more fit and ready to play a full 90 minutes,” the senior captain says.
With the combination of their aptitude for teamwork and determination to improve, the team is prepared for the winter season, which could last until February or March, depending on playoffs.
“We have a bunch of really good, talented guys,” says sophomore Sebastain Blessing, who was one of the two freshmen playing varsity last year, along with Alexander Castagna. “We need to all just work together, be a positive group…work hard, and if we’re one unit, then we can beat any team.”
Their first game was Nov. 30, which they lost 0-1 against Santa Cruz High School. With several saves by goalkeeper Tyler Hendrick, the game was close, with Carmel only conceding one penalty. Their second match was against Soquel on Dec. 5, which they also lost 0-1, and their third and fourth matches were home games against Monterey and San Lorenzo Valley.