BY KAYLA GATES
Final Score: Cooper City 3, McArthur 1
The long-awaited boys’ soccer season has commenced once again at Cooper City High School. The Cowboys kicked off their season with a 3-1 win against McArthur High School Mustangs in their opening match.
Following a series of delays due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Broward County Athletic Association (BCAA) has permitted high schools within the district to participate in competition once again. Games were quickly lined up to start in January.
CCHS held winter tryouts for boys’ varsity soccer in order to prepare for the delayed season, which was set to start following the break. Even under the circumstances, a number of interested CCHS provided coaches with ample flexibility in finalizing their roster.
The Cowboys’ season opener took place on Tuesday, January 5 at 5:00 p.m. Being a home game, a limited number of CCHS fans were invited to watch while maintaining social distancing within the stands as the team took on its competition with a home-field advantage.
Following the kickoff, the Cowboys managed to take immediate control of the field. An early possession allowed them to take multiple shots on goal. The offense passed the ball around for quite some time, but managed to stay on their opponent’s end of the field for much of the time.
The Cowboys’ season opener took place on Tuesday, January 5 at 5:00 p.m.
Early into the first quarter, the Cowboys scored the first point of the match. Senior Shon Mittler secured a shot on the McArthur goalie from within the box. The limited crowd filled the stadium with cheers as CCHS celebrated its first goal of the season.
Later into the first quarter, the Cowboys managed to score yet again. Senior Christian Forero managed to bypass the goal in one of the many shots taken on goal over the course of the quarter. The goal gave CCHS a 2-0 lead over the Mustangs.
After a quick break, the competition resumed within the second quarter. Mirroring much of what had occurred in the first, the Cowboys maintained possession for a majority of the quarter. CCHS managed to take multiple shots on goal, but most were unsuccessful.
Right before halftime, a member of the McArthur defense received a penalty near the goal. The Cowboys missed the initial shot, but junior Brian Allen rebounded the penalty, securing the third point of the game. The second quarter ended with a 3-0 CCHS lead.
“We were able to get the 3-1 dub.”Junior Brian Allen
“Considering it being our first game of the season and having only about two or three practices prior, we played a solid game on both sides of the ball,” junior Brian Allen said. “We were able to get the 3-1 dub.”
Going into halftime, the Cowboys appeared confident in their progress. The team huddled together in order to discuss their strategy for the remainder of the game.
The Mustangs emerged from halftime with new energy. Eager to catch up to the Cowboys, they pursued a much more aggressive offense. Possession was more evenly divided among the teams, and both took multiple shots on goal.
Early on, a member of the McArthur offense was able to break down the field, going one on one with goalie Carlos Mendoza. The CCHS sophomore came out to grab the ball, but the offender took an early shot, allowing the ball to slip past Mendoza and into the net.
“Now we will continue to improve.”Goalie Carlos Mendoza
“It was a good start to the season,” Mendoza said. “Now we will continue to improve.”
While their opponents now had points on the board, the Cowboys were not discouraged. They finished off the second half of the game with a strong defense, preventing any further points to be scored on them by the McArthur offense.
With both teams unable to score during the final minutes of the match, the game ended with a score of 3-1 in favor of the Cowboys. CCHS celebrated its first victory of the 2020-21 season.
“It felt great to go out and get a win the first game of the season,” junior Colby Dernis said. “We’ll take it and continue to grow.”
With more competition to come, the Cowboys look forward to participating in an official soccer season. Despite the given circumstances, the boys plan to make the most of the opportunity.
Photo courtesy of CCHS Class of 2021 on Twitter