By Tamas Mondovics
Three years ago, the Brandon soccer team posted a season without claiming a single game win. With such a record under its belt, coupled with a brand new coach, Robert Salvog, who joined the program in 2011, the Eagles had only one way to go.
Fast forward to the 2013-2014 winter athletic season and the Brandon soccer program is making good on its commitment to turn things around, only to be caught in the middle of its currently undefeated season and now facing the pressure to maintain the momentum in hopes of reaching the playoffs and beyond.
Brandon posted a 0-11-3 record in 2010 followed by a 3-6-1 a year later and a solid and improved 6-6-4 record in 2012. Today, the program is enjoying an undefeated overall and district record, which may not be a surprise for many thanks to the team’s gradual success.
Salvog, himself a Brandon High School and University of Tampa graduate, contributed the program’s success to three key components, which he said is vital for any program to be able to accomplish their goals.
“It’s all about believing in the system, having fun and working together as a team,” Salvog said, but added that although the Eagles posses the talent necessary, it must get together as a team as it has yet to play a sound game.
“We have a great defensive line that so far has allowed only five goals. It supports a strong mid and front line that works on pressing forward to play a clean, but physical game,” Salvog said.
It may have taken three seasons, but it is safe to say that while the talent was always there, the Eagles soccer have found its groove by coming together as a united front led by senior players such as goalkeeper Randy Chesson, team captain Patrick Freehan and midfielder Dylan Dyer, just to name a few.
“We are humbled by the recognition and the success and are very proud of how this season has turned out so far, but appreciate our coach for helping us to turn things around and connecting with the team,” Freehan said.
The Eagles are now facing a major tournament followed by the playoffs, both of which will test the team and will reveal what the Brandon program is truly about.
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