Varsity boys soccer look to continue their undefeated season and retain their championship when they head to Frankfurt on November 9.
Varsity Boys Soccer Head Coach Akay Mustafa believes the team is in a good position going into the tournament. “On the whole, the performances have been strong,” he said. “We’re going into ISSTs undefeated.”
Mustafa admits that the team is expecting to once again clinch their title at this year’s tournament. “If you ask all the other schools, they would say that we are favorites for it. Last year, we weren’t the favorites and upset the odds, so this year, as defending champions, you walk in with that expectation [to win].”
The team’s success on the pitch this season has resulted in a change in the way matches are approached, Mustafa said. “The challenge is going to be very different because when you go in as an unknown quantity it’s one thing, but when you go in and everyone has marked you as the team to beat, it’s a completely different experience,” he said. “[We’ve] already noticed the difference in how opponents treat us when we play. They adapt their tactics, they adapt their team selection to try and counter us rather than play their own game. It’s been a very different season for us.”
The team will head to the tournament without Cameron Campili (’18) due to injury and Ray Leavenworth Bakali (’19) due to illness.
Despite All-Tournament players Mark Haghani (’18) and Zayn Daniels (’18) returning, Mustafa believes that the performance as a team is far more crucial to their success than an individual leading the squad. “Usually, there are one or two [players] that you say are going to be critical, but with this group, they’ve got a fantastic level,” he said “If they show up, then we’ll be fine.”
Written by Sports Editor Jonathan Sheves