Soccer Season Kicks Into Full Gear

With November just beginning, the fall leaves are definitely not changing in South Florida or the Benjamin School. The change in weather shifts everyone’s moods especially with the winter sports season just beginning. 

The varsity soccer teams are prepped and eager for their season as the first girls’ varsity soccer game was Monday, Nov. 1. Last year, the varsity team had an 86.4% victory rate which was coupled with one loss and one tie.  

Girls varsity coach Ms. Hillary Carney has been coaching soccer for the past thirteen years, six of which have been for the School’s team.

“We had a great team and season last year. I am hoping to continue that success and grow the program for The Benjamin School,” she said. 

The girls do drills that consist of technical and possession skills to try to help the players learn other styles of play and to incorporate some team bonding. 

Freshman Vanessa Zito is a returning member to the team as she played last year while she was in eighth grade. She currently plays as a forward for the team. 

“I am mostly looking forward to reconnecting with the team and hopefully making it far and finishing what we started last year,” Zito said.

Academic Dean and Co-Head JV girls’ soccer coach Mrs. Caroline Guzman has been coaching since 2018. She played recreational soccer in college to enjoy the game with less pressure after playing competitively as a child. 

Mrs. Guzman said, “I love the team’s comradery and the fun we all have together. I think it will be a great year with new faces as well which I am excited about”.

Senior Lauren Straub, who has been playing on the JV team since her sophomore year, is most excited to get the opportunity to beat The King’s Academy for the first time in her soccer career. 

Straub said, “I feel like it will be more serious than past years with coaches but I know we seniors will keep it fun and like it has always been. I can’t wait for planksgiving with Ms. Miss!”

History teacher and JV co-coach Ms. Alexandra Murray is excited to kick off the soccer season. She said, “I am looking forward to the lively energy at the practices and games which is great for team bonding. I always leave the field with a smile.”

As this is her second year of coaching, she has a feel of how to most effectively incorporate fun and some discipline. Ms. Murray played varsity soccer while she attended Benjamin and graduated in 2015. 

Varsity boys’ head coach Coach Kris Steeves has been coaching youth soccer for over 20 years in both the United States and Scotland. This year will be his second year coaching at Benjamin. Coach Steeves began his coaching career when he was younger because his younger brother showed that he would be a good player, and Coach Steeves wanted to help. 

“Our biggest rival is every team we face. We approach every single game with a desire to win and improve as a program”, Coach Steeves said. 

Senior varsity player Gavin Coleman has been playing competitive soccer since 2010 and plans to play at the collegiate level at a D1 or D3 school. He hopes to win districts with his team this year for his senior year. 

During practice, the coaches try to have a game centered approach  where players are put into game-like situations to help with decisions on the field. These drills are supposed to increase the understanding of the players as a whole. 

Last year, the Varsity boys were introduced to a new Coach and they still had a solid year. This year, Coach Steve Burgess is also joining the team, has had experience over the past 25 years on collegiate and high school levels. He was Recognized as NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 2019. 

This year, all teams and coaches are hoping to enhance the soccer programs and hope to make it to districts and even regionals.