The Byram Hills soccer program has been one of — if not the most — successful in Section 1 over the course of the past 10 years, so expectations for the Bobcats will always been high. The past two seasons have ended in heartbreaking fashion, with a loss to Port Chester in last year’s Class A final just one year after being eliminated by PC in the section semis. The Rams have been standing in Byram’s way for a title, but with PC bumping up to Class AA, the Bobcats will now be considered the premier team in Class A. That doesn’t guarantee them anything, and the 2013 season will bring its own unique challenges. The biggest challenge will be replacing forward Jon Berry, who led Section 1 in scoring last year. But this is one of the most well-coached and consistent teams in the area, and they should once again be in contention.
Here are the answers that I received from coach Matty Allen:
What was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? We were 15-3-1 and lost in the Class A sectional final to Port Chester. Two Losses to PC and one to Jericho (Both teams in the state finals). Finished No. 6 in New York state.
Who are your key returning players? Samuel Ganeles, Senior, Defender (Capt.); David Lachs, Senior, Forward (Capt.); Cole Tannor, Junior, Midfielder (pictured to the right); Brenner London, Senior, Midfielder.
Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? Jon Berry, Josh Beinhacker, Justin Pollack, Ryan Golden and a slew of great defenders. Lost 10 seniors to graduation. None are playing in college except for club ball.
Are you anticipating losing any players to the U.S. Soccer Federation season? I am anticipating having three players choose to play for their respective US Soccer Clubs and/or Academy teams.
What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? Team speed is our strength, along with a strong defensive presence. I think we will be much more dynamic than we have been in the past.
What are some areas of concern? Scoring is a concern. From Ogden to Shaheen to Berry, we have had 80 percent of our offense go through one player. We need to find that player again or find some athletes who will share in the workload.
Which formation do you anticipate using? We will play in a base 4-5-1 and shift our formation based on whom we are playing and what the field conditions are.
What is your goal for your team in 2012? To win the last game. It’s the same goal that we have had since 2006. This group of seniors want to live up to and surpass the legacy that the classes before them have laid out, not live in their shadows. Beyond winning, the coaching staffs’ goal is to develop the boys into better men on and off the field.
Who is your biggest rival(s)? Our biggest rival, as of late, has been Port Chester cause they have had our number the last two years. But, the boys turn it up a notch versus Rye, Horace Greeley and any game that Vinny Mercogliano is at.
Up next: John Jay