Varsity Boy’s Soccer To Play Little River Academy Today


Veronica Butler

Junior Keaton Black practices soccer after school Jan. 23.

Camille Rivera, Reporter

The varsity boys’ soccer team began their season Jan. 1 against Harker Heights. Their record is 2-8, and they are 6th in district. 

They play at home today against Little River Academy.

This season has been focused on improving the boys skills and coordination with the team.

“Results haven’t fallen in our way,” varsity boys’ soccer coach Burnside said. “We’ve lost some close ones. We’ve lost some ones that have kind of been sided to better opponents. And like I said, a lot of this season has been a lot of an adversity check. Asking the students:  what are we going to do to respond to that? How are we going to be able to battle through that? How are we going to be able to get better for that going into not only next year and next season, but for these seniors and a lot of these upperclassmen, for life?” 

The goalie for the team is sophomore Michael Clayton who works to overcome the many adversities that the team has faced. 

“I put in a lot of work during the off season,” Clayton said.  “I have always given it my all with everything I’ve done. I care about the sport and everyone that I play with. I feel like I have more experience around me to learn compared to last year.”

The captains, senior Isaac Abken and junior Keaton Black, have had a huge impact on the team being able to play defense and midfielder. They assist everyone in many aspects of the game. 

“They have both given me consistent play throughout the season at multiple spots on the pitch, and they have never blinked when I give them something different than what they are used to playing or seeing, always willing to jump in and make a difference wherever we need them,” Burnside said.

Two new transfer students, senior Jose Alvarado Gomez and sophomore Edwin Alvarado Gomez, are working their way into the team, becoming more comfortable with the team and building confidence enough to work with all of the players around the field. However, there are many students who stand out on the field who all the players depend on.

“We’ve got people all over the field that can do a star job whenever their name is called,” Burnside said. “A person that has been a staple for us last year and this year was, has been our goalie, Michael Clayton. He has been very outstanding in terms of the way he plays, the way that he constantly wants to improve. [senior] David Flores has been another staple for us on the defensive side of the game playing back there, and he’s also worked up to take some shots and be an offensive threat,” Burnside said.

This year and the past, a main worry for the team has been an influx in injuries. 

“It’s not anything we can really control when it comes to concussions or non-contact injuries and things like that, but the way that we train before the season starts is focusing on fundamentals, cohesion as a team and things like that,” Burnside said. “But then as scrimmages and games start rolling and going, we’ll see something in a match and we say, ‘Hey, there’s someone we need to work on,’ so me and Coach Vanliew, and Coach Gold as well, we try to devise a drill that attacks that, that has that as a focus.” 

This year there have been many hurdles the boys have had to overcome whether they could control those hurdles or not.

“For training, we’re always focused on the weight room and just making sure our muscles are good and working the students there as well, so we can fight soreness and we can do better with cardio, and that’s been a huge thing,” Burnside said. “They’ll tell you too, at the beginning of the season and then off season is cardio, cardio, cardio. Training kind of adapts as the season goes on. There’s never really a set drill that I go to for this thing. We kind of just say, ‘Okay, the kids didn’t do so well in this. How can we attack that?’”

Since Burnside was in elementary school he knew he wanted to pursue teaching and being a soccer coach.

“With my family, the upbringing that I have, I could dribble before I could walk,” Burnside said. “It’s said as kind of a little bit of a hyperbole out there, but there is truth. I was crawling around with the soccer ball at my feet. The love for the game is still always here. I am always looking to learn more about soccer, watching cool plays happen. I see this in the kids and I love helping them get better, helping them become better young men, just in terms of general life as well.”