Boys Soccer Team Off to a Perfect Start, Ranked #1 in the State

Boys Soccer Team Off to a Perfect Start, Ranked #1 in the State

Cory Olsen

The Forest Hills Central boys soccer team has taken the field 16 times this year. They have not lost.

Currently ranked number 1 in the state in Class A, the Rangers have utterly dominated opponents this year on both sides of the field, resulting in numerous lopsided victories, a first place spot in the OK-White, and the best start in school history.

“We started a little bit slow this year,” said senior captain Anthony Bowie. “But as the season has progressed, we have gotten stronger and really
have come together as a team.”

Bowie has been one of the biggest performers so far, netting an outrageous 30 goals in just 16 games. While Bowie has provided the firepower with an average of almost two goals per game,he says that his teammates are the ones getting him the ball and providing opportunities for him to capitalize.

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“It is so much easier to play well when you have a lot of older players around you,” said Bowie, who has already committed to play soccer at Western Michigan. “We have a lot of guys who have been playing varsity soccer for a few years now.”

One of the unique characteristics of this Rangers team is their experience. With twelve seniors on the team, they are confident and comfortable with each other on the field. According to multiple seniors, the leadership of the older players has been the key to the season thus far.

“Our senior leadership has really been huge for us,” said senior Jake Ireland. “Guys like Zadel and Bowie are great leaders and the seniors all want to show the younger guys the right way to be.”fhc soccer 2

Another key for the Rangers this year has been the addition of senior Matt Zadel, who has provided the Rangers with an elite player who is very experienced. Zadel chose not to play high school soccer last year and instead opted to play “Academy Soccer,” which is known to be a step up from high school competition. Bowie is certainly glad that Zadel made the switch, and he has seen the effect that it has had on the team as a whole.

“Matt is such a good player and that really gives us an advantage,” said Bowie, who is in his fourth year on the varsity squad. “He gives us a lot of confidence, just having someone like that on the team.”

The OK White has proved to be a strong conference over the years, and with tough teams like East Grand Rapids in the mix again this year, the Rangers will have tough tests ahead of them. One of their most memorable games came on September 29, when they shut out an East Grand Rapids team that was undefeated at the time 4-0. The team knows that defeating conference opponents will be crucial in their success this season.

“Going into that game we were both undefeated, so we knew it was going to be a big in the conference,” said Ireland. “We knew that they were going to be good, but we really played well that game, and I think it gave us a lot of con
fidence.”

As the Rangers begin to turn their attention towards the playoffs and a possible state championship run, they know that there will be a target on their back as one of the best teams in the state.

“For now we are just focused on getting better,” said Ireland. “We know that we have a chance to go far, but we need to win conference first.”fhc boys soccer 1