Soccer Bests Berkshire

starting 11

Northwood School’s starting eleven versus Berkshire School on September 11, 2019 (Source: Black Rock FC).

The Northwood boys’ soccer team believed they were the best prep team in the country last season, but they never had the chance to prove it. Berkshire School, which held the top spot in the rankings, cancelled a fall 2018 game with Northwood, preventing the Huskies from ascending to the top of the prep soccer rankings in their first year of the elite soccer program.

The expectations for the game last Wednesday, September 11th, were high, especially for John Sinclair  ‘20, a postgraduate who graduated from Berkshire School last year. “I knew it would be high tensions,” Sinclair said, “and it would be a very physical and intense match.”

Indeed, it was a tough game for Northwood, who got their first goal with an amazing kick by Luke Smith ‘21 from outside the eighteen. Eitan Rosen  ‘20 said, “It was a phenomenal goal–a real piece of class that broke the ice in a tight game.”

Video: Luke Smith ’21 scored the first goal versus Berkshire (Video credit: Berkshire School)

The Huskies were able to maintain the advantage until the second half, when Berkshire scored on a penalty kick to tie the game. But this setback didn’t deflate the Huskies. “I felt we had to keep playing our style of play: don’t force anything and eventually we would get the goal,” said Ryan Combe ‘20.

Northwood had never given up on a victory that seemed reachable. With about five minutes remaining in the game, Mateo Rodriguez  ‘20 headed a corner kick ball into Berkshire’s net, scoring the game-winning goal. Despite Berkshire’s attempts to tie the game, the Huskies controlled the game until the end.

When the final whistle was heard and the game finished, the rivals became friends again. “After the game, a lot of my friends at Berkshire came over to me, and it was a really great feeling to see them stay after the game and greet me!” said Sinclair, who described the Northwood win as “bittersweet” at a school meeting assembly last Friday.

Rankings haven’t been released since the game, but Northwood’s players and coaches expect the Huskies to earn the top spot when national prep rankings are updated on Top Drawer Soccer.

Northwood coach Mr. John Moodey was the soccer coach at Berkshire before starting Northwood’s program two years ago. “It was a good outcome,” said Moodey. “[The team] has only been together for a week, so I am happy with the result. There were really good moments for us, and we showed some of our potential,” he added. “Obviously we made some mistakes and weren’t perfect, but it was a good first step as we begin our season.” He had always believed that the Northwood soccer players had the ability, the chemistry, and the character to win the game.

Now that the boys have overcome this first challenge, the main goal for this year is to build a strong sense of community within the team to get the strongest chemistry possible and to continue getting great results.

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