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Maranatha High School Boys Soccer Team Clinches Historic CIF Southern California Division V Regional Championship Victory

Published on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 | 6:11 am
 

The Maranatha High School boys soccer team clinched the CIF Southern California Division V Regional championship after winning against Castle Park in a match on Saturday night, March 2, on Maranatha’s state-of-the-art athletic field.

Castle Park’s Maximiliano Amaya tied the score 1-1 before Maranatha’s Caleb Freeman scored the go-ahead goal in the 71st minute, resulting in a 2-1 victory and securing the regional title.

Reflecting on the team’s success, Walker Haynes, the Head Coach, emphasized the role of team dynamics and preparation.

“We’re led by a group of seniors. There were actually 12 seniors on the team, and a number of them had been through the program for the last four years,” Haynes said. “Because of playing together in this environment over that period of time, there was a lot of chemistry, a lot of camaraderie that was difficult to manufacture. Those things take time to develop.”

Haynes said the team’s strong bond and relentless work ethic propelled them through challenges, including a loss to Whittier Christian on Jan. 12, which served as a turning point for the team.

“From that moment on, after that loss, we got together and talked about what we needed to do moving forward, the changes that we needed to make the way they needed, the team needed to adapt and play better together,” he said. “That was the last game that the boys lost and they went on a 13-game winning streak after that.”

Hayes said key players like George Peterson, Sawyer Throop, and Miles Romero played crucial roles in the team’s success. Peterson, with 24 goals and 14 assists, led the offensive charge, while Throop and Romero anchored the defense.

“So if you take those three – and most of our back line were seniors anyway –  they accounted for most of the defense that we played and the leadership on the offensive side as well,” Hayes said.

Underclassmen Luca Youssefian and Caleb Freeman also made significant contributions to the team’s performance.

Community support also played a vital role in the team’s success, with enthusiastic turnout at home games boosting morale.

“There’s no real replacement for having the energy and the excitement of playing in front of a home fan base, especially if it’s that large and they’re really into it,” Haynes said. “It just fuels the boys, and you could just see how better they played, how much it fueled them to keep on going and to keep on fighting when you’ve got all your fans just rooting you on.”

Looking ahead, Coach Haynes is optimistic about the team’s future, citing a strong pipeline of talent and continued community backing.

“I’m excited for what’s ahead, and I know that as word continues to spread about the success we’ve had this year, it’s only going to increase our interest and increase the move of talent into our team,” he said. “Talent follows talent, and this team has had such a full amount of talent, and I know that a lot of the younger players in the community are going to look to come play on a team that has success, that has excitement, and that has a really healthy culture.”

This year, the Maranatha boys soccer program made history as the first team to secure both the CIF-SS Division VI Championship and the CIF So. Cal. Division V Regional State Championship in the same year.

In the 2022-2023 academic year, Maranatha High School was selected as one of 129 boys soccer teams throughout the United States that earned the United Soccer Coaches High School Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team.

To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player’s GPA, and then dividing by the number of players. The United Soccer Coaches website showed Maranatha obtaining a point average of 3.65.

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