The Loomis Chaffee Varsity Boys Soccer Team started off its long season with 5 days of preseason training in the meadows, concluding with a hard-fought victory in the Preseason Olympics against the football team. The first scrimmage of the year was much-anticipated, with a match against Berkshire School led by none other than Coach Charlie Bour, who had previously led the Loomis team to runs of success. After a 4-1 victory against one of the strongest programs in New England, the team looked forward to a successful season. The team played two more scrimmages against Deerfield and Nobles, and the season started off with a bang: a 7-0 shutout win against KO.
Since then, the 21-man team grew immensely under the leadership of Head Coach Tim Helfrich (who also played for Loomis until he graduated in the class of 1996), along with Assistant Coaches Sebastiaan Blickman (joining us from a career of playing for Choate, Bucknell, and professionally in Denmark) and David Malloy (joining us from Arsenal F.C. Academy in London). With varsity returners making up less than half the team, the squad was still relatively young, and hit its first hard spot when they lost two games in a row against Andover and South Kent, two of the best teams in the nation for prep school soccer. Nonetheless, this did not stop the Pelicans; learning from the mistakes of the past, they moved past their pair of losses for an impressive 10 game winning streak, starting off with a 13-0 W against TP. By November, the run for the Founders League title had narrowed down to three teams: Taft, Avon, and Loomis. The first two games for Loomis in the month of November would prove crucial in post-season play: 11/1 against Avon and 11/4 against Taft, both away. The team came out of the week with a 2-3 L against Avon, but they would never face defeat after that, and bounced back with a 4-3 W against Taft. Wins against Choate and Kent for the two final games ensured the Pelicans the Founders League title as well as the #2 seed in New England’s, second only to Coach Bour’s Berkshire team.
During finals week, Loomis played the #7 ranked Milton team in the quarter-finals of NEPSAC Class A Championships. After a scoreless first half, the team’s top-scorer, Suski hit the back of the net 19 seconds into the second half for a 1-0 lead (history repeats itself; see below), and with ten minutes to go, buried another to make it 2-0. The game ended 2-1, and Loomis was matched against the #3 ranked Taft team, which they had won against earlier in the regular season. This time, Taft was ready to avenge their loss, and came out with a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game. However, if there was anything the season has taught the team, it was that they had the ability to strike back no matter the score line. Suski once again found the back of the net, as would Alex Clarke ’18, a PG that joined us from Suffield Academy. With under two minutes to go, a Tomas Munoz ’18 free kick would find Aidan O’Brien ’19 to score the goal that would advance the team to the finals.
Who were they playing for the New Englands Championship game? You guessed it – Charlie Bour and the Berkshire Bears. After 90 minutes of intense playing on both sides in the freezing cold weather, the two teams entered OT (NEPSAC rules dictate that the first team to score in OT wins, and after 2 OTs penalties would decide the winner), only for another scoreless first half. But when in doubt, always remember that history repeats itself – 20 seconds into the second OT, Munoz stole the ball from the Berkshire winger and passed it through to Suski, and as always, scored with his “golden left boot,” as Coach Helfrich puts it.
During the season, the team scored 91 goals while only conceding 25, thanks to the strong defense of wingbacks Anil Anderson ’18, Zach Peter ’19, Maalik McPherson ’19, Keven Cosgel ’19 (when he wasn’t playing on the right wing), and Harry Raddock ’19 (when he wasn’t injured); center backs O’Brien, Chayne Bruenau ’19, and Jonny Eyvazzadeh ’19; goalkeepers Jamis Fite ’20 and Aidan Murphy ’18 (who also played quite a few minutes as striker). The golden triangle of defensive midfielder Jack “Rosie” Rosenberg ’18, Munoz, and Alex Clarke presented a pleasant sight for spectators, as did Ben Casner ’20 and Akeim Clarke ’20 (when he wasn’t playing striker.) The offense of Alhasan Barrie ’19, Suski, Isaac Lohnes ’18, Patterson, Zeno Schwebel ’18, Lincoln Rybeck ’20 was possibly the strongest force in New England. Everyone contributed valuable minutes, and having the best seat in the house on Helfrich Field by timing all the home games has been a great pleasure.