Travel Foxes Show Early Strength
by Cayla Gaffney
Saturday, September 10 was the kick off of the storied Swarthmore tradition, Town Soccer. Saturday morning from 8:30 to 11:30, with two sessions, (birth year 2012-2017 and 2016-2017), eight teams per session, came up with fun team names, practiced drills and games, and finally ended with a game competing against one of the other teams.
Players gathered in a circle with Town Soccer Director Billy Lynch, where they cheered and warmed up with high knees, skipping, and stretching. In a smaller circle, they sang the Town Soccer classic, “Town Soccer, Town Soccer, Ole, Ole, Ole…” After warmup, players joined SRA Director Sara Kelly and Director of Programming TJ Loper for sorting day where they received colored shirts and headed off with their teams for drills and games.
As she received her shirt, six-year-old Savannah Drane, age 6, said, “I’m excited to play.”
The atmosphere at this event every Saturday morning is electric. Teammates chat excitedly, and coaches demonstrate techniques and games that these young players love to learn. Not only do they learn these new skills but also improve over just a few sessions. Asked how he feels about the improvement, Coach Billy says, “I feel happy. I’m extremely proud of them, and excited to see how those skills will grow.”
Once kids had gathered with their team they came up with silly and fun team names. One group, sporting sapphire blue shirts, settled on the name “Sapphire Socks.” The yellow team agreed upon “The Toasted Marshmallows.” Silly and fun names like this contribute to an overall atmosphere of fun.
Names secured, it was on to drills and games. Patrick Benzing, a player with the Toasted Marshmallows, liked a game called “Fox and Chicken.” He explains the game like this, “There’s one fox and the rest are chickens. If the fox gets your ball, then you turn into a fox.” Elizabeth Gaffney, age 7, says the highlight of her session was “Dribbling and shooting!”
After the drills, teams came together for scrimmages, refereed by Sports Mentors. Sports Mentors are middle- and high-school players who assist Coach Billy with all elements of Town Soccer. Strath Haven High School freshman Sam Spector, a second-year Sports Mentor, said being a Sports Mentor is about, “making sure the kids don’t hurt themselves. It’s good to have an older person they can look up too.” Coach Erin of the Sapphire Socks, says she enjoy coaching and thought the first session went well. “Everyone was enthusiastic,” she said.
On the travel side of the club, Swarthmore Soccer teams battled out the first few weeks on the pitch. Reports from early games include the following:
In their first game, the 2009 boys team lost 3-0 to Springfield Celtic FC on a hot sunny Saturday afternoon at Henderson. The Foxes only had 12 players but were fortunate that Richard Kim and Thomas Miller from the 2010B team agreed to help out. Richard and Thomas both just played a tough match in the hot sun for their 2010B team and then played more than half the game for the 2009B team. With speed and strength, Matt Styer anchored the Foxes defense as “sweeper” doing his best to fend off the opposing attackers. Matt played the entire game!
For the 2010 boys, Richard Kim, Gabriel Carone, and Charlie Posternack have shown strong performances, even when the score was against the team.
The 2011 boys team won their home opener against Haverford. In front of a hometown crowd, the team came together for a nail biter 3-2 win, with the winning goal scored in the last minute of the game.
2013 girls team goalies Emma and Dakota had terrific saves on a rainy Sunday that failed to damped the Foxes’ spirits.
The 2013 Silver Foxes took Brandywine 2-1 on September 17 on the back of goals by Jonah Peltzman and Joey Dibona. Their compatriots on the Red Foxes suffered a tough loss after a hard fight against West-Mont United.