By EMMA CEPLINSKAS and CANDELA DIAZ
As the leaves change from a lush green to a tinted rusty red, that means it is time to break out the cleats and shin guards because soccer season has begun. Malden High School’s boys soccer team has entered a new season with states and the Greater Boston League (GBL) title in mind. At a current record of 7-4, they are on their way towards another successful season, if not more so.
Ending last season at the first round of states, senior captain Richard Mulo and varsity coach, Jeremiah Smith, are in agreement in their goal to, “advance further this year.” The team, however, does not feel pressured to qualify again this season because, “[they] have the talent,” commented Mulo, “it is just a matter of pulling out the win.” As for personal goals, junior captain Julio Da Silva hopes to, “beat [his] record of 11 goals last year,” and become a GBL all-star. With a total of six clean sweeps last season, goalie, junior Mark Ortiz, would like to increase that number.
At a current record of 4-1 in the GBL and three clean sweeps, the team is tackling the competition. After defeating Cambridge, their long time enemy, with a final score of 2-0 on their turf, the team is highly motivated to continue on a winning streak. Their second competitive game against Everett on Oct. 2 prompted exceptional performances by the team, pulling out another win to add to their record with a score of 2-0.
Top scorers this season include Da Silva standing at six goals and six assists, Mulo with seven goals and four assists, and junior Felipe Calad with seven goals and four assists. Da Silva is motivated by his brother, who won the GBL title in 2006, to continue improving and prove his strength and talent as a player. He and Mulo have a great passion for the game. They love everything about it, even the opponents. “The harder the better,” described Da Silva because, “[he] feel[s] great after winning against tough competition.” But, “[he] does not like all the attention on [him]” because it, “is all about the team." “They are willing to give everything they have,” added Mulo. Soccer is not solely about the person with the ball. It is about the other ten players on the field, working together to have victory, the feeling of pride and accomplishment at the sound of the final three whistles.
In contrast to last season, this year there are more underclassmen on the team but there is still an abundance of talent. Mulo believes this season, “the people are more committed because they want to win. [They] are willing to work together to achieve [their] goals.” In addition the team, “is more positive and [they] communicate better,” added Ortiz.
Another change includes the formation of a freshman team, led by coach Robert Navas, which has not been around since 1996. “[The new freshman team] makes the program better,” expressed Smith. Ortiz advises to, “stay with the team even if [a player] does not get a lot of playing time.” Mulo and Da Silva also encourage the younger players to, “always be humble” as well as work hard and listen to the coach.
Many of the players have known each other from Malden Youth Soccer. Mulo added that, “[they] like each other apart from just playing the soccer game… [they] are family…[they] are brothers.”
The team has the chemistry, the speed, and the skills to become the ultimate champions.