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Eastside Eagles boys soccer eying postseason with strong chemistry
Eastside Eagles boys soccer
Junior Thomas Hill (27) taking a corner kick against the Newton Rams. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

Chemistry and morale seem to be high for the Eastside Eagles boys soccer team as they continue the road to the playoffs.

With an 8-4-1 record, head coach Anthony Williams feels like the team is performing well all-around.

“Just a lot of growth, a lot of leadership,” Williams said. “All around, we just have players communicating better and striving to get better.”

Along with the success on the pitch, junior Malachi Scharf spoke about the energy the team has in the locker room.

“The energy is really fun,” Scharf said. “Last game, we won and for like five minutes after the game, we were just shouting in the locker room and cheering. It was just really fun, everyone is getting in on it. There are a few people that are loud and it just brings up the morale of everyone.”

Success on both sides of the pitch has been one of the stories for the Eagles in 2024.

Through the first 13 games of last season, Williams’ team had scored 27 goals. In the first 13 games of 2024, the team had increased that number to 54 goals.

For Williams, the solution has been simple.

“[The] mindset has been just to shoot it,” Williams said. “Just let them have it. We have been pretty good on defense so as long as our guys get shots on goals, it puts us ahead. Just being confident shooting the ball, that has been the main push each week.”

The Eagles’ top goal scorer, sophomore Alexis Vieyra, felt like the bond among the players has played a big role in the team’s success.

“As a team, we feel great,” Vieyra said. “We have a lot of talent in the team. I feel that we can go really far if we just stay focused. We have a good chemistry and history this year.”

Vieyra is part of a trio of underclassmen who lead Eastside in scoring. Vieyra is accompanied by fellow sophomore Hudson Harris and freshman Ethan Oakley. 

Seeing the progression of the young players has been a nice experience for Williams.

“It is just awesome to see. It is a lot of growth,” Williams said. “Most of these guys play on travel teams, so they get the extra practice. The biggest thing with these guys is that they take pride in being good. They compete everyday, that’s what you want from the team — competition.”

Playing as a team and sharing the ball has been an intentional focus for Vieyra and what he believes has helped the team.

“By communicating with each other and being unselfish,” Vieyra said. “Not being a ball-hog and playing as a family, not just as a team.”

Along with a statistical jump in scoring, the defensive side of the pitch has seen improvements as well.

After conceding 32 goals in the first 13 games of last year, the 2024 team has trimmed the number down to 16 goals in the same span.

When analyzing the team’s success at limiting scoring opportunities, Williams boiled it down to one thing.

“Communication,” Williams said. “We got a lot of guys back, so we are just building off of last year and building off every game. We got guys on defense that want to be mentioned. They want honorable mention, they want first team all-region. They are doing what it takes to be that.”

Scharf, who is a defender for Eastside, shared the same sentiment.

“We have gotten together as a back line and with our midfielders getting back,” Scharf said. “Our chemistry has gotten a lot better on the back line, our system works really well.”

The Eagles sit in fourth place in Region 8-AAAAA with two more region contests left on the schedule.

With a lot more to be played for, it is safe to say that the Eagles are going into the final stretch of the regular season with confidence.

“This team has grown a lot,” Scharf said. “We are basically the same team from last season and last year we won about [six] games max. This year, we have come out and we have beat a couple teams around. We have done really good, we have gotten better throughout the season. There are a few teams we played earlier in the year that if we played them now, we would mercy rule them.”