The last time that the Falmouth High School boys’ soccer team earned a spot in the MIAA state tournament the entirety of the Clippers’ roster was still in elementary school. Coach Bill Andrade has had teams come close to ending that slump, but this year’s crew looks like the best chance yet to earn a trip to the postseason.
While scrimmaging Bourne on Tuesday, August 27, several of the players were confident that they have what it takes to not only get into the field, but make some noise once they’re there. “What did go last year? It was 2-13-3; we’re reversing that this year,” one player said. “We’re winning 13.”
Coach Andrade would love nothing more than to see that kind of turnaround, but whether they’re as good as they hope, or just plain better, it’s safe to say that the 2019 edition is going to be a fun one to watch. With speed all over the field, the Clippers have run rampant over their early preseason opponents, scoring eight goals in two games while allowing none.
Maybe more important than the outcomes in the scrimmages has been the way they’ve gone about playing.
“The kids are playing with a lot more confidence, they’re a lot more relaxed this year,” Andrade said. “It’s fun to watch. They’re enjoying themselves, and I think it shows in their play.”
With 11 returning seniors who seem to be all on the same page, the Clippers hope to be showing off a lot more than just a brand-new field this year. First and foremost, they’ll be showing off some footspeed on that new surface.
“We definitely are blessed with some speed. For some of the kids, the difference is that they’ve been working out all off-season. They put in the time and wanted to get better, and it shows,” Andrade said.
Leading the way for the returning players is someone who has been around the team since the last time FHS made the tournament. Back then, the coach’s son, Coleby Andrade, was a ball boy on the sidelines. This year he will be one of the leaders.
“What I like about Coleby, besides that he’s my son, is that he’s gotten bigger, stronger and faster. He sees the field and he’s a great distributor, and he has the ability to score.”
Another former ball boy, senior Thomas Charette, is another senior who will help lead the way. Quick and smart with the ball, Charette has been a steadying presence for the Clippers the last few years and is primed for his best season yet.
On the outside, Jack Stewart’s speed and creativity will help push the offense. Stewart can be explosive with the ball and will shoot it from nearly anywhere. Junior Eben Delinks has been making an impact since his freshman season and is primed to break out as a junior. With speed and great foot skills, Delinks has potential to put up big numbers.
Sophomore Lucas Reis joined the program midway through the season last year as a transfer from Martha’s Vineyard. Since then, he’s become more and more acclimated with his new teammates, and the midfielder and forward could be a breakout player for FHS this season. “He’s very skilled and fun to watch,” Andrade said. “I kind of let him do his thing, freelance within the system.”
Senior forward Matt Maccini sat out his junior year but has returned with purpose. “He’s going to be tough to beat in one-on-one situations. He blows past you,” Andrade said.
Senior Gabe Girouard will also see time on the forward line. “He’s very fast and unselfish with the ball up top,” the coach explained.
FHS has a number of experienced players returning in the back end of the field. Alex Small is a solid fullback who can also step between the pipes and play goal, if needed. Owen Filiault plays on the outside and is strong at dissecting plays and protecting his end of the field. Ryan Costello is a workman on defense who doesn’t slow down. Nick Harden improved greatly over the off-season and will play a big role. Junior Graham Grant is up from the JV team and has impressed coach Andrade with his skills. “Since day one he’s impressed me,” Andrade said.
Gio Borgese can play anywhere on the field for FHS. The senior is dealing with some injuries that will keep him from going full speed as a field player early in the year, but he will see some reps as a goalie until he’s ready to go all-out. When he is healthy, he can fill a spot anywhere on the pitch.
Starting at goalie for FHS will be Jack Richardson. The athletic keeper played better than his record last year and will be a main beneficiary of the overall improvements that his team has made.
While it is clear that this year’s team should be much better than last’s, coach Andrade is not about to take anything for granted. He said that his team must improve in their end of the field, especially defending restarts, which was very problematic for the 2018 club. Finishing on offense was also problematic for last year’s team, although this year’s club already looks better at that.
“Last year was frustrating because in most of the games we’d be the better team for 75 percent of the game and then we’d make a mistake and things would fall apart. We’ve got to be better than that,” the coach said.
The goal-driven Clippers open their season on September 4. The team hosts Plymouth North at 4 PM.