The boys soccer team opened their season at home in a scrimmage against Conard High School on Thursday, Aug. 31. Head Coach Hikmet Aslan said the goal for this game was to get a gauge on the skillset and condition level of his players, especially his younger players.
This year’s team has 13 new players that have no experience at the varsity level, yet the team still has one incredible asset which is youth. With the addition of eight freshman and three new sophomores to this team, this team has a great chance to be strong in years to come. Next year, the Wyverns will only lose two seniors on their 25 man roster.
Coach Aslan is looking into the future regarding this team while still trying to instill a mindset of competing. One of Coach Aslan’s favorite sayings “earn your jersey” is ever so relevant this year as many roster spots are up for grabs.
The game against Conard finished in a 1-0 victory for KO and was the newcomers’ first chance to earn their jersey, or in the case of the returners, to protect it. Junior striker Nick Hamzavi scored the lone goal in the Wyverns’ season opener with a shot that was just able to creep inside the right post.
Coach Aslan was impressed with what he saw from his team during their first game. “We want to play. We want to be a team, and that’s a good thing,” Coach Aslan said.
Additionally, Coach Aslan said one of the most beneficial parts about the scrimmage against Conard was that he was able to see his younger players play, as Coach Aslan and the Conard coach had made arrangements for returners to play against returners and newcomers to play against newcomers. Due to this, Coach Aslan said he was able to see the differences and discrepancies between the game of the younger players versus the returners. Coach Aslan said he realized it might be a process getting the newcomers accustomed to the high school varsity level, but he is still optimistic for the future.
The boys soccer team also traveled to Wethersfield High School on Saturday, Sept. 1 to partake in a jamboree that consists of Wethersfield High School, Staples High School, and Tolland High School. This jamboree is in commemoration of those lost on September 11th. The jamboree consisted of three 30 minutes games.
The Wyverns opened up the jamboree with a 1-0 win against Staples High School, where sophomore midfielder Colin Ruiz scored the only goal. The boys soccer team also won the next game against Tolland High School with a score of 1-0, with the goal being provided by Hamzavi. The Wyverns concluded the jamboree with a 0-0 draw against Wethersfield High School.
Coach Aslan said he couldn’t tell much about the team from just the short 30 minutes games, but he did say some things were obvious. He said that the team needs to develop another striker and also needs to figure out what formation works best for them. The jamboree was a very positive experience for the team. “When we play hard, we proved we could win,” sophomore defender Chris Sienko said.
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, the boys soccer team traveled to Hamden Hall where they came away with a 5-1 victory. Junior midfielder Niko Rodriguez scored the first goal of the game, and then Hamzavi scored another three goals. Senior midfield Captain Aidan Shea scored the final of the five goals. This was a dominating win for the Wyverns, but Coach Aslan doesn’t want to let his team get too comfortable since Hamden Hall is a division D school, where as the boys soccer team plays in the Founders League. Even though that was a game the team was supposed to win, it was still a great showing. “We started playing as a team, and you saw a good representation of what we can do,” junior midfielder Shane Dawson said.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Wyverns hosted Westminster. Despite playing with ten men for the majority of the game, the Wyverns prevailed as they kept their winning streak alive winning 2-0.
Dawson scored the first goal of the game off a rebound from junior captain midfielder Jackson Wolff’s freekick, and later junior defender Kyler Dzielak put the ball into a scrum in the box off a free kick from half field where it went untouched and into the goal.
“After the card we rallied together as a team,” Wolff said. “We kept our cool and composure and as a result, learned from our mistake and responded with a great win and a great game for the team.” It seems that no obstacle was too large for boys soccer as they were still able to win and score two goals even with ten men on the field.
Coach Aslan said he has liked what he has seen so far this season but he still wants his team to work hard, and continue to develop his younger players.
“I’m trying to prepare the next Aslan,” Coach Aslan said, referring to his son, freshman striker Brio Aslan.
Coach Aslan is trying to develop the future boys soccer team, one that will compete in the playoffs and encourage other great soccer players to come to KO. He said he believes that the addition of Assistant Coach Carmelo Lombardo will help the team.
The players want to win but are also trying to have a great experience. Coach Aslan is developing a culture that extends past the soccer field, as he often joins his players at lunch. Coach Aslan isn’t only trying to develop a soccer team, but also a family that will continue to grow and improve in the future.