The big split: Boys varsity soccer gets enough people to form junior varsity team

After freshman Noam Cohen scored his first goal of the season, his teammates wildly cheered from the sideline, chanting his name in celebration.  The boys junior varsity team started the game slow, but with this goal, CESJDS tied up the game, and eventually went on to win.

The high school soccer program has split from only fielding one team, the varsity team, to two separate teams: junior varsity and varsity.

The team divided due to the number of players at tryouts this year. Varsity soccer coach and physical education department chair Steven Forestieri was surprised at the high turnout of 32, an increase of about 10 to 12 athletes from the prior year.

Unlike other sports, where the varsity and junior varsity teams are managed separately, the new program is designed so that the two teams are more connected. The teams practice together, and some players play in both varsity and junior varsity games.

Generally, the players seem to be happy with this change. New players who have just entered high school now have the opportunity to play against easier competition, boosting their confidence and allowing them to have more playing time. Cohen is excited to be on junior varsity for his first high school soccer season.

“Junior varsity gives players an opportunity to work on their skills and actually put them to use in real game situations,” Cohen said. “I think that the best way to practice and improve as a player is through these game situations.”

Players who have been on varsity in the past still have the opportunity to play in a more competitive environment, and players who have seen little playing time on varsity in the past have the chance to play on both teams, which gives them additional playing time and experience playing against different levels of competition.

Forestieri believes that splitting into two teams will ultimately benefit the program.

“This has a positive impact on the success of the team because we have a lot of seniors who will be graduating this year and we have a lot of ninth-grade student-athletes that will be the majority of the varsity team next year,” Forestieri said. “Having a lot of depth in multiple positions on the team is always a good problem to have for any sports program.”

Last year, the varsity team went 3-8, while this year the team currently has a record of 2-3 and is already showing significant improvement from last season.

This story was featured in Volume 37, Issue 2 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on Oct. 4, 2019.