By Dylan Rippe
Brockport Boys Varsity Soccer coach Jeffery Phillips is in the process of rebuilding a team decimated by the loss of 15 seniors.
“I have been coaching for 20 years, five as a head coach and this is my favorite group of guys,” Phillips said.
The team is 2-6 halfway through the year and has a lot of work to do. There are five sophomores starting in the midfield gaining experience through this rebuild. The team is upbeat and positive despite the early season shortcomings.
“I think we try to come out and have fun with them. I’m not the coach that’s going to be out here yelling at them. And I’ll just stay positive with them, especially this year. You know, we started out struggling a little bit. I still feel like we’re in a good place,” Phillips said.
Senior goalkeeper Mark Rennie only started playing goalie last year. As an upperclassmen with a primarily younger team, Rennie continues to build team camaraderie.
“I know the coach might not like this but I would say the bus rides and just how everyone is on the team. We don’t talk crap about each other. How everyone’s got unity. Everyone always likes everyone on the team and encourages each other,” Rennie said.
Rennie knows expectations for the team were low going into this year. Some may let those expectations define the team but Rennie has different ideas.
“We keep playing hard regardless because people have low expectations,” Rennie said. People have a lot of expectations, we lost 15 kids, so we’re not going to be that team yet. But I think we got some studs on the team that can do it,” Rennie said.
Junior attacking midfielder Brandt Marshall is in his second varsity soccer season. He recognizes the age of their group and has his own expectations for this year.
“So before the season, the captains and I were thinking we weren’t going to do as well. We wanted to have at least a .500 season, win a few games, score a few goals because it’s going to be difficult with our younger team,” Marshall said.
Through hard work and focus, Coach Phillips keeps the team motivated. Going into the latter half of the year he has instilled a high work rate into the team.
“We’re not going to be the most technical team, but we’re going to work hard. We are going to outwork teams. That’s the biggest thing about our team, I think,” Marshall said.
Over the course of Coach Phillips’ long career, he has experienced a number of different groups. He is facing the adversity of losing 15 seniors head on and continues to keep a young team focused on the future.
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