A look into the beginning of a new era for boys varsity soccer

Tommy Spaletto

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Despite losing 13 seniors, the boys varsity soccer team hopes to reload quickly this upcoming year to try and claim an OK White Championship. Last year, the team went 10-8-1 and finished second in the OK White, just behind a very talented Forest Hills Northern squad. In the first round of playoffs, the boys took down Rockford, who was favored in the game, in a hard-fought 1-0 victory. Despite narrowly falling to Caledonia in the next round, the Rangers put together a near-flawless performance in the contest. While they did have a successful season, the program will lose another important piece to last year’s impressive season: former head coach Caleb Postlewait. 

Former FHC JV head coach, FHC varsity assistant, and current Caledonia varsity girls soccer head coach Paul Kramer will take over the reins as head coach for the team this year, which is an advantage knowing Kramer has coached most of the players on the team before. In his first year, Kramer looks forward to building a strong culture and foundation for years to come. 

“I am looking forward to instituting a culture based on the ‘ABCDE’ approach,“ Kramer said. “A for accountability, B for positive body language always, C for committed and confident, D for determined and disciplined, and E for energy and effort. When players buy into this approach, it will breed success.”

The outstanding senior class from 2019 was a big contributor to last year’s success, and now this year’s senior class will have to do the same. Luckily, FHC returns fourth-year varsity player and senior captain Sammy Postlewait to contribute big minutes at forward. Sammy was the top goal scorer on last year’s team and will look to do bigger and better things during his senior year. 

“My personal goal has to be the best captain possible for the team,“ Sammy said. “I will [also] hopefully compete to win Mr. Soccer.“

Another key piece to last year’s team that will be returning for his senior year is goalie Kyler Williams. Kyler was a key piece and a closer in many of the big wins the Rangers had last year and will once again be important to the FHC defense. For Kyler, the defense needs to rise to the occasion in order to have success this year. 

“The defense is going to need to have great communication, have the ability to remain calm under pressure, and have the endurance to play their best the whole game.“ Kyler said.

An area of strength this year for FHC will be the midfield. The Rangers return all three senior midfielders in Dani Ahmetovic, captain Richie Alvarez, and JT Guntern. All three players got solid playing time last year, and they will likely see an increase in minutes due to the loss of many seniors last year.

As important as the incoming seniors will be for this upcoming year, the new players on the team will be just as important. Juniors such as center back and captain Matthew Mahoney, as well as Mason Corcoran, will be expected to contribute immediately. Along with them, sophomore Jayden Savin and freshman Noah Gleason, who are projected starters, will be asked to play major minutes on their first year on the team as well. For the first-year players, it’s exciting to reach their dream of playing varsity soccer. 

“I’m mostly looking forward to getting closer with these guys and improving throughout the season,“ Matthew said. “We have a very young team, so it may end up taking some time to get things going, but I genuinely believe that we can make a deep run in the postseason, while at the same time pulling off soem big results in the early parts of the season.”

FHC will have a quick turnaround after tryouts were just completed on Wednesday when the Rangers take on the East Kentwood Falcons in their home opener this Friday at 6:40 pm. In this game, the Rangers hope to embrace the moment while also working hard to try and win the game. 

FHC has a very proud soccer history,“ Kramer said. “The first game this Friday standing on the sideline will be quite surreal for me in being the new leader of this program. I expect that moment to last roughly 30 seconds before the whistle blows and I realize we are facing East Kentwood and its Hall of Fame coach and friend John Conlon. I want to see our players embrace the moment and seize it. Not to be scared about failure, but to be adventurous in trying to succeed.“