Team revival provides a chance to play


Fresh-soph team midfielder freshman Justin Magee steps onto the practice field with a smile, happy for the chance to play the sport he loves. He sets up the ball begins to shoot on the goalie, sophomore Ryan Griffin, who dives to save the ball. Griffin pops back up and tosses the ball back to Magee, who sets up the ball and shoots again.

Magee and Griffin get the chance to play soccer because of the revival of the men’s fresh-soph soccer team.

A recent rise in student interest in soccer forced the men’s soccer coaches to cut more and more players, until the coaches sat down and assessed the numbers in late April of last year. According to men’s varsity soccer head coach Jim Fendryk, they decided that they could re-establish a fresh-soph team in the men’s soccer program so that more players could develop their skills and play.

“This is the step to make sure that if people wanted to come to JC to play soccer, they would still have a place to play,” Fendryk said.

The players who made the fresh-soph team were happy with the decision to create the team as well. “There were a lot of kids coming out this year, it was good that everyone could make a team,” Magee said.

However, the addition benefits more than just new players. “There are actually some guys on [the fresh-soph team] that are sophomores that played on the JV team last year. The new JV coach has a different vision for what his team structure should be and some of the guys who were on the JV team last year weren’t chosen […] But they’re still playing. That’s the idea,” fresh-soph team head coach Brian McLaughlin said.

The team provides more opportunities to compete with other schools in the MIAA A Conference such as Loyola Blakefield, Calvert Hall, and McDonogh School that already have well-established fresh-soph teams. “We wanted to be able to match the rest of the teams in our conference,” Fendryk said.

Also, the team is another incentive for more students to enroll. “The big push has constantly been to get more kids in the building. We want the school to grow,” Fendryk said.

The school can now pitch another team for students to increase their involvement in after school activities. “From the school’s perspective, it’s obviously a recruiting tool. When kids say ‘I got cut from my school’s team, but JC’s got three teams. [They think] maybe I can go there and play soccer in high school,’” McLaughlin said.

The school’s first fresh-soph soccer team was created in 1997, but when the number of students athletes interested in the men’s soccer program decreased in 1999 there was no longer a need for the team, and it was removed. Student involvement in men’s soccer grew by 2006, and the men’s soccer program restored the fresh-soph team.

As the interest in men’s soccer declined again in 2009, and the men’s soccer program could not field a team with substitutions, the soccer program cut the fresh-soph team.

The team has eleven games left in the season, and as of Oct. 5 have a record of one win and five losses. “We’re a good team and can improve throughout the season with hard work,” Griffin said.

McLaughlin has confidence in the team’s skills and abilities as well. “Our first scrimmage, we scrimmaged the JV team, and we tied them one-one. The score may not reflect our success, but my high school coach had a saying: ‘We didn’t lose, the clock just ran out before we were ahead,’” McLaughlin said.

Grace Mottley is a News Editor for the Patriot and