This is the way the game should be played. Every touch is soft. The only time the ball is blasted is when the goalkeeper punts it and when it is aimed toward goal.
Brophy Prep soccer coach Marc Kelly can look out onto the field and smile. His team is focused on playing the game the way it should be played, passing the ball around the field to create space and scoring opportunities.
“A big thing we do here is trying to be unselfish,” Kelly said of his team, which is No.1 in azcentral sports’ DivisionI rankings. “I think when we’re unselfish, we’re able to really combine and be dangerous. In training, when we’re really playing, it’s beautiful. If we can translate that to the field, it’s going to be great.”
Brophy Prep has shown it on the field this season. Its only loss came from the semifinals of the Arizona Soccer Showcase, which is becoming one of the premier national invitational tournaments in the country, to eventual tournament champion San Clemente (Calif.).Brophy lost to San Clemente 1-0 in overtime Dec.31 at Scottsdale Sports Complex.
In the tournament, Brophy Prep beat Phoenix Camelback 4-0; Anaheim Servite (Calif.) 3-0;Avondale Westview 5-1; and Paramount (Calif.) 1-0.
Brophy Prep’s next challenge comes Jan.9 when it travels to Orlando to play in another prestigious national invitational, the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament.EliteSoccerReport.com, which covers prep soccer nationally, ranks Montverde Academy second in the nation and Brophy Prep third. Teams from Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana will also participate in the tournament.
Playing in the Arizona Soccer Showcase was a good primer for the challenges to come in Florida. Brophy Prep was able to work on fine-tuning its play.
“We’re trying to get secondary runs in in the middle,” Kelly said. “Once we really get our timing, it’ll be good. It’s just a matter of getting them to believe that they’re better together than they are as one.”
Brophy Prep had graduated some talent but brought in six new players, all of whom play club at an elite level. A few of them came from a talented 1996 Blackhawks club team and two, dynamic midfielders Cesar Alcantara and Oliver Shanks, played on a loaded 1995 SC Del Sol squad.
Mountain Pointe coach Bryan Sabato was left impressed when his team lost 3-0 to Brophy Prep this season.
“Brophy’s one of the top two teams in the state,” Sabato said.