In a follow-up podcast from last year, Marcello and Major chat with boys head soccer coach, Andy Westfall, about what we should expect from our varsity team this year.
On this week’s episode of The Hall Hub, Marcello talks with the new boys varsity soccer coach, Upper School teacher Andy Westfall!
By Aiden Wacksman
Going into the 2021-22 season, the Oak Hall boys varsity soccer team had a combined five wins in the last two years. This year, however, the team has a 5-1 record and its first winning start to a season since 2017.
First year Head Soccer Coach Edwin McTureous, who also coaches Oak Hall’s cross country and track and field teams, attributes part of the team’s success to its larger roster compared to previous years. “I enjoy being around the boys and getting to know some boys that I’ve never coached before,” he said.
The team defeated the likes of University Christian, Trenton, Dunnellon, and Bell this season; it lost to three of those four teams last year. The Eagles are also on pace for one of the winningest seasons in program history.
Senior Asher Dobrin has been especially impacted by McTureous’ coaching. “Coach McTureous gives us really good instruction and reinforcement, which we didn’t have much of in the last two years,” he explained. Dobrin added that the majority of the team members are returning players, which has strengthened the team’s chemistry. “We’re able to play with so much more focus and energy this season,” he said.
Some players had low expectations for this season but have been pleasantly surprised by the team’s success. “I think we have a lot of skilled players on the team,” said Senior Ryland Kane. He believes that the team’s mindset is just as important as its gameplay and is a key instrument to its success. “We hope to continue to improve during practice so we can show that our team is more capable than some may think,” he stated.
In an effort to make this year special for Oak Hall’s senior athletes, we created A-Z questions for them to answer. We hope you enjoy!
Victor Chiu is a member of Oak Hall’s varsity boys soccer team!
By Jenna Poppell
A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Do your homework on time.
B – Best pre-game meal? A sandwich.
C – Coach’s best words of advice? Don’t be bad.
D – Favorite dessert? Souffle.
E – Most entertaining practice? Film with Adam.
F – Favorite high school athletic moment? I don’t know, I play defense!
G – Goals for your senior season? To win a game.
H – Hoping to attend (which college)? UPenn (University of Pennsylvania).
I – Interesting thing about you away from soccer? I did fencing for a few years.
J – Favorite joke? No.
K – Keys to maintaining homework? Just do it when you get home.
L – Least favorite practice drill? Four-line drill. Everyone stands in a square and you just pass [the ball] in circles.
M – Music you listen to? Musicals.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.
O – Outside hobbies (other than soccer)? Reading.
P – Preparations for a big game include? Drinking water.
Q – Question you would ask your future-self? Was [soccer] worth it? Like, time-wise.
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Sleeping.
S – What would your senior superlative be? “Least likely to get dress coded”.
T – Favorite TV show? Criminal Minds.
U – Most underrated pet? A fish.
V – Favorite vacation spot? Japan.
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Go to Oak Hall.
X – Any X-rays? No.Y – Your impact to the younger athletes on the team? I tell them what to do!
Z – Favorite zoo animal? A wolf, I don’t know if that’s in a zoo.
By Mac Fogler
For the 2019-20 soccer season, Oak Hall was not able to field Middle School soccer teams, forcing the middle school players to play on the varsity level. This can be very difficult since the Upper School players can be bigger, faster, and stronger. Oak Hall, however, has some very talented youngsters who were very successful on the soccer field this season. Maggie Fogler, Bilal Al-Takrouri, and Jamie Robinson Wilmott, all eighth graders, consistently started for the varsity teams and all made a big impact throughout the season. Robinson Wilmott was a stalwart on the back line for the boys, while Al-Takrouri moved all over the field, a true jack of all trades. Fogler was very successful at forward for the girls. These Eagles will be an integral part of Oak Hall’s future in the sport.
While the boys season was not as successful as they would have hoped, the future is bright with these young stars leading the way. Both Al-Takrouri and Robinson Wilmott feel that the opportunity to play up was great for their development as players. “It was hard at first, but then it got better when I got used to it,” said Al-Takrouri. “I think it made me a better player in the long run because it made me tougher when I had to go against bigger stronger guys,” he continued.
Robinson Wilmott agrees that playing on varsity has helped him become a better player. “If I played middle school [soccer] I don’t know if I would have gotten as strong,” he explained. Playing on the same team as older kids was scary, as it was hard to know if they would fully be accepted. “When I first started, I thought that I was gonna be just that one guy that nobody talked to, [which] turned out not to be true,” said Robinson Wilmott. “My favorite part of the season was playing with the seniors because all the seniors are hilarious,” he continued.
Al-Takrouri and Robinson Wilmott, as well as the other middle schoolers on the team, are beloved by their Upper School teammates, and the success of the future of the program looks promising as these athletes continue to grow athletically.
The girls varsity soccer team won a district championship this season, thanks in no small part to Fogler’s contributions. The eighth grader was a big-time player for the Eagles this season, scoring and assisting on many goals. “I knew coming in that it would be a challenge, but it was so much fun…everybody was so nice,” she said. “I loved the girls so much and Coach Wharton was great!”
Congratulations to these young Eagles on their fantastic seasons and we will all be looking forward to what they do in the future!