When someone in the sports world mentions that their team improved upon an undefeated season, one’s initial thought might be “wait, what’s better than going undefeated?”
Well, undefeated records in soccer often include ties. Case in point: the Wilcox boys JV soccer team went undefeated a year ago, finishing their league season with a 7-0-5 record.
This year though, the team amazingly managed to outdo themselves. Led by an energetic young coach in 21-year-old Head Coach Josh Foley, the Chargers improved upon last year’s undefeated season by going a perfect 12-0-0.
Earlier this year the Weekly profiled the Chargers for their unique level of diversity. This year’s roster included five players who were born and raised not just in other countries, but on other continents. Goalkeeper Fabian Richter grew up in Germany, attacking forwards Vittorio and Tommaso Peritore grew up in Italy, midfielder Yuji Kusuyama grew up in Japan and center back Rapheal De Mattos grew up in Brazil.
Not only did the incredibly diverse squad win every game this season, but 11 of their 12 wins were won by two goals or more. Their closest game came against Homestead when they won 1-0.
“Going through this season, you don’t want it to end, you just want it to keep going,” remarked coach Foley. “You can ask my guys and they will tell you that they keep texting me asking if we can practice again even after the season is done. I knew this team was special. I’ll never get another team like this.”
Unfortunately for the Chargers, the JV level has no playoff tournament, so their final game is already scheduled before the season even starts. It’s not surprising that the players want to keep going when they have yet to be beaten.
“Each game we had to learn, every game wasn’t perfect so we still had things to improve on,” remarked sophomore captain Adrian Garcia-Diaz. “All the games were harder and harder. I believe each game is harder than the last.”
“We had the best chemistry on this team,” added fellow sophomore captain Shivam Amin. “If I have ever played on a team with truly good chemistry, it was this team. We had people from different nationalities, but we just clicked like we had been playing together forever.”
While the players on the field for the Chargers certainly get the lion’s share of the credit for the amazing success of the season, the players love for their coach was palpable.
“His pep talks get every single player on the team hyped! He knows how to do it, because he’s pretty young,” chuckled Amin. “He knows how we are as [teenagers] so he gets all of us pumped up. Practices we worked on what we needed to, he always had us moving in the right direction. Whenever we were playing bad he would pull us aside and tell us what we were doing wrong and how to improve it. He would emphasize how it wasn’t that we needed to win every game, but that we can win every game.”
The ability for all these players from different backgrounds to come together and mesh as a unified group is incredibly unique. Amazingly, it sounds as if everyone was on the same page all season long.
“When I played we had a lot of guys who would bump heads,” remarked Foley. “We understood we were on a team, but not all of us were friends. We certainly had our own different groups, but these guys, when they see each other at school in the hallways they are always like ‘hey what’s up man?’. Their main social group is the team and I think that has really helped because when everyone gets along it makes playing together that much better. When I played sometimes guys wouldn’t be looking forward to practice, but these guys were always excited everyday for practice.”
These players may have come from all sorts of different places, but they mixed together beautifully, making for a memorable season that none of them will soon forget.