We Are One: WHS Soccer Program


Jessica Small, Sports Editor

“We are one.” Those three small words currently connect a network of more than one hundred people. This is the motto of the Wellington High School Soccer program.

The program began more than twenty years ago. Since 1991, numerous soccer players have been recruited by colleges from Wellington to further their athletic careers. That’s the goal of the team: not necessarily being a college or professional athlete, but building better players and teammates.

“Unity and teamwork are essential [parts] of this soccer program. I have learned so much about myself from past players and those on the current team,” Katie Casey, women’s varsity player, said. “Unlike travel programs, the WHS team is very routine. I put [over] ten hours a week in with practices and games.”

The regular soccer season begins at the end of October with tryouts and ends late January or early February, depending on how far the team goes.

“The goals this year are the same as every year: to win a district title and ultimately progress far in regional’s and so on,” Michael Bauman, men’s varsity player, said. “The team this year is strong, but started out rough. We’ve played well recently, and have strung together some solid games.”

The program’s success is no coincidence. Both JV and varsity men’s and women’s teams practice everyday after school for about two and a half hours, unless it’s a game day. It’s a lot of hard work, and only the strongest players make the team.

“Tryouts are four days long and consist of two cuts. We have to scrimmage, run two miles in 13 minutes, and demonstrate the ability to play soccer at a high level,” Bauman said.

The women’s team has a similar tryout process. All this work is done to keep the team at a high repute.

“The team definitely has a reputation to live up to. I was in eighth grade when the WHS team won States, and ever since then I have strived to reach that level year in and year out,” Casey said. “I was fortunate enough to make varsity my freshman year and we beat Palm Beach Central in the District Final. From then on the team has meant so much more, and we always have had the desire to reach the goal of making it to states. Every team is told to never live in the past, but knowing the team that had just won the year prior made it much more personal.”

The coaches for each of the four teams work hard to set goals for the players.

“[Coach Chip Hagopian] taught us how to keep the tradition going and be a great team,” Luis Zamorano, men’s varsity player, said.

Tradition is a big part of the soccer program. The girl’s varsity team has a group talk at the conclusion of each game.

“Coach Koz really speaks from the heart about how we truly performed that night. He won’t sugar coat it or scream at us, but he tells it like it is. He explains about what we have to fix as a team and even certain things we have to work on as individuals. Our coaches, Wilmer and Koz, tell us that having heart and desire is most important when we are on that field,” Casey said.

Though the program has evolved in the past few years, the desire and passion for the game have never faltered.

“The program has changed mainly in coaching. When I was a freshman the [men’s varsity] head coach was Mike Aronson, and now it is Chip Hagopian,” Bauman said. “They each bring a different coaching style to the table, and meet our needs by playing the system that allows us to utilize the best players in each position in order to be successful.”

Overall, that is the destination for each team. Building a group of people that can work together with spirit, discipline, and determination.

“The most skillful team doesn’t always win,” Casey said. “In the end, it comes down to who wants it more.”