By Jazmin Barcenas
Photo by Juan Diego sophomore Olivia Kuehn
The 2015 boys soccer team at Juan Diego Catholic High School conquered their region and made it to the semifinals of the state tournament.
Two early 1-0 losses against Judge Memorial Catholic and eventual Class 5A state champion Alta were the only setbacks until the Soaring Eagles lost an overtime thriller to the Dixie team that would win its second straight 3A state title. Juan Diego completed the year with a 13-3-1 record.
Head coach Scott Platz has seen improvements in the team’s chemistry and camaraderie as the players became a more cohesive group throughout the year. Platz explained that he is proud of the players for their accomplishments during their spring season, both in winning and during the infrequent loss.
“(I appreciate) when they give their best effort and demonstrate their tremendous ability,” Platz said. “Sometimes you do that in winning a game, (and) sometimes you do that when you don’t win a game, but (then) you’re really showing that you’re still solid now and show pride and have sportsmanship.”
Platz says he noticed the team’s concentration on their effort to communicate well as a team. He says there is a different feel with the team. It became less about the individual players and more about the team becoming aware of each other, and everyone working toward a goal.
“(The boys) seemed to have really embraced that idea of being a team and being together as one instead of being an individual,” Platz said.
Platz has been coaching the Juan Diego boys soccer team since 2007. The game’s fast-paced nature is the reason Platz enjoys the sport as much as he does. He says the players do not have to rely on the coaches and have to make their own split-second decisions during the game.
Christopher Ward, a senior team captain, says he has seen the team become more united and passionate, too.
“We play really well together,” Ward said. “Even when we lost, we played hard and we were super motivated. We have a lot of attitude, we know we’re good, but a lot of the time we probably don’t put in as much work in as we should.”
Platz says the players handled themselves well during semifinals, although there were moments “that could have gone our way.” Now the work begins to see that they do, next year.