Boys Soccer takes the field

An inside look at the new boys soccer program at Battlefield

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Boys Soccer takes the field

Battlefield Boys Soccer huddles up after their first Saturday morning workout.

Battlefield Boys Soccer huddles up after their first Saturday morning workout.

Battlefield Boys Soccer huddles up after their first Saturday morning workout.

Battlefield Boys Soccer huddles up after their first Saturday morning workout.

Alex Young, Author

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If there is one statement that represents Battlefield athletics, it is that each and every team has the will to succeed. Battlefield sports have a history of showing up looking sharp, being prepared, and ready to dominate – no matter the conditions. Yet with that being said, there have been a lot of questions surrounding Battlefield’s athletics going forward. Can a new head coach help Battlefield dethrone Patriot in football? Can basketball continue to dominate without many returning seniors? All of these are interesting questions that programs are hoping to answer, but if there is one team that is undoubtedly ready to continue their streak of success, it is Boys Soccer.

The soccer team has been making a lot of noise around Virginia recently as 2016, 2017, and 2018 were all years that the team has earned a spot in the postseason. Not only did Battlefield win the district title in that time, but they also advanced deep into the 6A Regional Tournament, and even made an appearance in the 6A State Final. Under the helm of former head coach Nathan Nemerow, Battlefield has been undeniably successful. After Coach Nemerow’s departure last year, Battlefield has proudly put their faith in a new head coach, Cedric Bullock, to take the reins of this advanced program.

Bullock’s impressive soccer reputation is a tough one for opposing coaches to match. After beginning his college career playing NCAA Division I soccer at Clemson University, Bullock transferred to James Madison University for the rest of his college career. While on a student-athlete scholarship, Bullock and his squad won the 2011 CAA Championship, a huge accomplishment for him and his program. Bullock says, “Our first goal as a staff [at Battlefield] is for our team to be physically fit enough to compete at the highest level. This entails using the track and the weight room. That’s where you build your mental strength and toughness.” Coach Bullock practices what he preaches as he, the coaching staff, and the players have been working hard all offseason running, lifting, and of course, sweating. “What we have seen in our offseason program is a buy-in of what we call sweat-equity,” says Bullock. Sweat-equity is a term that was pioneered by senior Colton Matthews, a member of the team. Bullock continues by saying, “The team has put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears as we really pushed them to their limits this offseason.” Bullock is hopeful and optimistic that Battlefield’s student section, The Den, will come and support the team as they look to compete for a state championship this year.

Alongside Bullock is his coaching staff that consists of Assistant Coach Pierre Slaiby, Athletic Performance Coach Gabriel Granados, Assistant/JV Coach Chad Mateer, and Goalkeeping Coach Larry Dolph. Coach Dolph played goalkeeper at LeMoyne College and currently has his own goalkeeping academy at Just 4 Keepers of Northern Virginia. Alongside Bullock, the staff has been putting the soccer team to the test as they must pass three out of six fitness tests to be eligible to play in games. Now, normally that would not be seen as too difficult, but these are not just any tests. These are the same tests used by Clemson University, Stanford University, and the United States Men’s National Team.

Battlefield Soccer players are expected to be in peak physical shape, as just one of their requirements is being able to run three miles in under 18 minutes. After completing the first Saturday morning workout of the season, Junior Vincent Tran says, “We had to run the three mile today, and although some of us came up a little bit short, we’re all getting really close to the mark. We then went back to the weight room and got back to work.” Tran added that he is very excited for the season to start and also for the new uniforms that the team is going to be getting. Starting this year, just like collegiate programs, Under Armour will be supplying the team their kits, sneakers, travel suits, and accessories. The team’s new uniforms are set to be modeled after Notre Dame, UCLA, and the University of Wisconsin.

Senior Liam Lovell has been a member of Battlefield’s soccer team for all four years at Battlefield. Lovell has grown up in Northern Virginia and his love for soccer is taking him beyond Battlefield as he is committed to playing college soccer at the University of Lynchburg. Lovell says, “I’m really excited to win more games and more trophies under the lights this season.” Lovell continued by saying that although some chemistry may have been lost with the swapping of coaching staffs, he is excited to see all the new opportunities the team can build now and into the foreseeable future.

Alongside Tran, Lovell, and the rest of the team is senior Goalkeeper Collin Ennis. Committed to Shenandoah University for soccer next fall, Ennis has been playing soccer as long his friends can remember. Although Ennis has been dealing with injuries throughout the off-season, he says, “One thing people should know is that with our new coach, BHS is being trained like a college program. There is going to be a new sense of professionalism on and off the field.” He continued by saying that the new mindset of the program is going to not only going to help the team now, but also help the athletes planning to play after high school.

The Battlefield Boys Varsity Soccer Team has seven home games on their schedule for this season. In those games they will be facing their rival, Patriot High School, and other opposing schools such as James Madison High School and Osbourn Park High School. With the amount of excitement surrounding this year’s team, it will be interesting to see how hype the student section will be as they support one of Battlefield’s most hard working teams throughout the year.