Varsity boys soccer kicks off 1-2


Photo Courtesy of Meredith Gramlich

Senior captain Leo Macdonald tries to create space and look for an opportunity to advance the ball. Macdonald is a midfielder which means he’s responsible for keeping the defensive and offensive lines together.

The boys’ varsity soccer season is underway with a 1-2 record after the first week of play.

Varsity tryouts started on August 10 with drills highlighting the players’ speed and agility along with other tests of their skills. Guido Zucconi, formerly the JV coach, stepped up to coach the varsity boys this year after coach Hector Morales retired.

“I was so fortunate to learn and observe him over the last seven years. Thanks to him, the jump to varsity has been pretty smooth,” Zucconi said.

After the final team was selected, they started their preseason games. For the first couple of weeks, they scrimmaged other high school teams beating Curley, Sherwood, River Hill and Broadneck.

The seniors and captains, Leo Macdonald, Nik Avillo and Martin Forero, all had outstanding junior seasons and appear to have a very promising season ahead of them.

“We have a great team this year with boys that have been playing together for a while. My goal for the season is to win states while playing an attractive brand of soccer,” Macdonald said.

Avillo agreed, adding “We do have a lot of potential this year and my goal is to set a good example and be a leader on and off the field.”

With 12 games in the regular season, some of the most anticipated games ahead are against BCC, Churchill and Whitman. The game against BCC is more personal this year due to how the Wildcats lost to the Barons in the region finals last year.

The first game of the season was against Salesianum on Saturday, Sept 10, where they lost 3-2. Macdonald and Avillo scored for WJ..

The second game was on Sept. 13 against Blake which resulted in a 2-1 win. Junior Dani Alonso scored the game-winning goal with just seven minutes remaining. Avillo scored the team’s first goal.

The Wildcats ended the first week of the season with a tough 2-1 loss against St. Albans on Friday, Sept. 16. Senior Rama Rugaba scored the one goal in a penalty kick.

A lot of pressure is added and there are lots of eyes on the team because WJ is recognized as one of the best soccer programs in the area.

“It’s a great test for the guys, as players, as teammates and as young adults learning to deal with all this pressure; but as the saying goes, ‘pressure creates diamonds.’ These boys are ready to shine,” Zucconi said.