Boys’ Soccer Has High Hopes for Season Despite Multiple COVID-19 Setbacks

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Hours after running off the pitch and cooling down after a hard fought match, the boys’ varsity soccer players found themselves quarantined.

In the midst of a season made unusual by the persistent effects of COVID-19, the team has high hopes as they resume play.

Head Coach Kris Steeves is in his first season as the Bucs coach. Prior to coming to Benjamin, the Palm Beach Gardens resident was known to many players as coach for the U8-U12 boys’ teams of the Palm Beach Gardens Predators, a recreational and travel program. He last coached at the high school level for John Caroll in Fort Pierce in the 2015-16 school year.

Coach Steeves is aiming high for the postseason with the hope to reach regionals at the very least.

“Being the first year [that] I am [the] coach, it would be nice to represent the school well in districts and hopefully beyond,” he said.

Coach Steeves brings a level of professionalism and a desire to succeed that the program has missed over previous years.

[He] is much more vocal than the last coach and all he wants to do is win, which is what we were missing in previous seasons,” junior Max Gelinas said.

Sophomore Owen Nutter who has been coached by Coach Steeves on travel teams agrees with Gelinas. 

“His coaching method is really what is needed at Benjamin,” he said. “The method revolves around growing as a team and finding links with players.”

Unfortunately, as Steeves and the team learned, there is no magical practice regimen or game plan that can stop the world’s current fiercest opponent: COVID-19. After their first game of the season against Miami Country Day on Nov. 18, the team was subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine.

“The quarantine definitely slowed us down,” Nutter said. “It provided a hiatus from important skill development and team building.”

The team is on “day-to-day runnings and is ready to be flexible to the demands that COVID-19 protocols place,” according to Coach Steeves. “COVID-19 has the potential to disrupt our season as it already has. We aim to adhere to these and be as safe as possible to minimize disruption,” he said.

The Bucs haven’t finished a season over .500 since the 2016-17 school year, but with a change at the helm that the players support, it seems very possible that the tides will turn this year.