MSD men’s soccer team starts the season with a 5-1 record

Defender Robbie Alhadeff (8) passes the ball to midfielder Tomer Yair (6) in a match against Monarch High School on Nov. 11. The Eagles lost the match 3-1.

Sam Silverman, Writer

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School men’s varsity soccer team is off to a 5-1 start of the season and are on a path to continue this record.

The Eagles began practicing in late October, giving them about a month of conditioning and practice to prepare for the season.

“To prepare for the season, we started with fitness sessions to get to know everyone and start bonding. Then, we had practice everyday throughout the week and team dinners before a couple games,” captain and midfielder Joaquin Gonzalez (10) said. “This brought us together as a team and prepared us for the season.”

MSD began their season on Monday, Nov. 7 with a home game against Monarch High School. The Eagles lost the opening game; however, this gave the team a chance to evaluate their weaknesses for the following games.

Since their loss, the Eagles have improved significantly, going 5-0. In the four game span, the Eagles have scored 16 goals, compared to their competitors’ combined one goal. The Eagles’ lack of opponent goals is largely credited to goalkeeper Victor Batista (1), whose defense led to three consecutive shutout games and helped propel the Eagles forward.

“The team in the beginning of the year was not connected due to new players joining the team, but as the season went on, we connected more as a team leading us to win more games and play as a team overall,” Gonzalez said.

On Monday, Nov. 14 the Eagles won their first game of the year against Pompano Beach High School 9-1. The Eagles’ offense gave them confidence and momentum into their next game, where they won against Western High School by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

After Thanksgiving break, the Eagles still looked strong, defeating Fort Lauderdale High School 4-0 on Nov. 29 and Coral Glades High School 2-0 on Monday, Dec. 5.

The Eagles play a 15-game season in the 7A D13 division with local teams from across Broward County.

So far, the team leader in goals is Joaquin Gonzalez (10) with three goals on the season. The team leaders in assists are captain and midfielder Tomer Yair (6) and forward Aquiles Yibirin (15) with three each.

“The team has great chemistry,” defensive back Shadi Buchanan (15) said. “Everyone talks to each other.”

On Thursday, Dec. 8, the Eagles faced St. Thomas High School and won 1-0. Their winning streak then extended to five games.

Last season, MSD went 8-4-1, going 3-0 in the 7A D13 division. After several regular-season games, they had great momentum going into the playoffs. After two playoff games however, the Eagles’ season ended with a loss against Dr. Michael M. Krop High School in Miami. Ahead of the 2023 season, they sought to capitalize on their playoff loss from last year and make it further in the playoffs.

The MSD men’s soccer team is full of talent from all grades, especially from the senior players that prioritize setting the team up for success in future seasons.

“We have lots of talent to stay as strong as we are now, including starting freshmen and sophomores,” Buchanan said.

Their most recent game was an away game on Tuesday, Dec. 12 against Pembroke Pines Charter. The Eagles fought a tough game but ended up losing 2-0.

So far, MSD has shown that they are a top competitor in the district. They are proving every game that they want to get far into the playoffs and capitalize on their season-long momentum.

The Eagles next game is against West Broward High School at home on Thursday, Dec. 15.