Nov. 16, 2020
By Aliya Keith
The rain did not stop the boys soccer players from making history on Nov. 11. After beating Wallington High School with a 1-0 win at an away game and completing their regular season with a 9-1-1 record, the Golden Bears became league champions. It is the first time since 1999 that the team has captured a league championship title.
Senior goalie Andrew Fernandez said with the league games complete, the players are now focusing on their first state game on Nov. 17 against Glen Rock High School.
“My goal for this season [was] to win the league,” Fernandez said. “This will motivate us going into the state tournament. It is gonna boost everyone’s confidence going into big games.”
He said the team’s greatest strength has been its offense.
“The IQ our offense has on the field is brilliant, and it will get us far,” Fernandez said.
Junior striker and midfielder Joe Brubaker said the team’s communication is the one aspect that the players could improve upon before state games begin. He said he is driven to work through the challenges of the game by concentrating on his passion for soccer.
“I love the sport and have for many years,” Brubaker said. “I love to play for fun, but the love for the game motivates me to play better.”
“The team is hungry for wins. We’re very talented and know what we can accomplish.”
Brubaker said he thinks the Golden Bears have what it takes to beat the competition, especially because other teams are not as strong as in previous years.
“I think that the team just has to continue fighting for what we want, and in return, we’ll be a team driven by passion, which could lead to a championship win,” Brubaker said.
The team had its first and only loss of the season at an away game against Rutherford High School on Oct. 28. In this rematch, Rutherford got revenge after losing 1-2 to Lyndhurst at a home game on Oct. 12. Center midfielder sophomore Ali Celik scored the game-winning goal in that game.
“The team is hungry for wins. We’re very talented and know what we can accomplish. That’s our biggest strength,” Celik said.
He said the most difficult aspect of the sport is maintaining confidence.
“I know I can play well and do really good, but sometimes after a couple mistakes, I put my head down and lose all my confidence. I need to have more fun when playing,” Celik said.
He said the team has faced challenges mentally and physically on and off the field.
“One thing I’ve learned this season is that there are always going to be setbacks and obstacles in life. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season,” Celik said. “The team has had a lot of injuries and a big loss. However, we’re able to go over those obstacles and still believe we can win it all this year.”
PHOTOS BY ANGELA ELLIS