You don’t have to win any games to call it a successful season. Sure, the junior varsity boys’ soccer team at Mashpee High would have liked to have posted a couple of W’s over the course of the abbreviated 2020 campaign, but with a schedule that saw it playing teams from bigger towns with older rosters, coach Lew Farwell and company were more focused on improving the level of play and having fun on the field.
“We only played five games, and three of them were against Norwell, so that was tough. They just keep coming at you, but [Mashpee] progressed from week to to week. We had a lot of time to practice. We kept them busy and kept them out of trouble, and just kept them playing, and that’s what’s important,” the coach said.
Mashpee had just one junior on the junior varsity roster, Farwell’s grandson, Liam Farwell. A starter at fullback, the younger Farwell was “vicious and tenacious,” his coach said, drawing on his background as a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do to the pitch to help him get a leg up on the competition.
Leading the way for the sophomore class was goaltender Robert O’Neill, who played all of the games between the pipes for the JV Falcons. A skilled keeper, O’Neill’s strength came from directing the defense in front of him and making sure everyone knew where to be and which angle to take.
Neil Howard, a sophomore, saw a lot of time on the field at right midfield for the Falcons. Quick on his feet, Howard is a strong passer of the ball and is able to control it very well, too.
Brady Fraser, a sophomore, saw most of his action at center midfield. A big and strong player, Fraser has the ability to play any spot on the field. “He’s got a really good foot and can control the action,” coach Farwell explained.
Aren Dwayne worked in the defensive midfield for the junior varsity Falcons this year when he was able to get on the field. A foot injury suffered early in the season severely limited his ability to practice and play in games. He showed some promise when he was able to get on the field.
Joey Pocius is a freshman who showed some ability with the JV squad. A midfielder and defender, Pocius is a very fast player who is proficient with the soccer ball. Defensively, “not many people got past him,” Farwell said, as Pocius was able to both recover defensively to get back to the man with the ball or run win one-on-ones. “He was a big asset back there on defense,” Farwell said.
Tyler Theodore scored two goals for the team this year. The freshman forward also worked well on defense when he was needed there. “He’s a very good player, he goes fast and furious,” the coach said.
In the midfield, freshman Preston Joia saw a lot of action, playing mostly on the left side of the field. Joia, who is also a skilled goalie, earned a call-up to play with the varsity on a couple of occasions over the course of the season. His skill and strength earned him praise.
Mattheus Balmiro did not get to play a lot during the season because of a knee injury, but he showed a lot of potential in the limited amount of time that he did get. Belmiro is a great on-the-ball defender and has a strong skill set overall.
Cameron Katz, a defensive midfielder, was one of the players who most benefited from the way this season worked out. Katz, who put in a lot of hard work in the offseason to get into better playing shape, improved his game quite a bit from the previous year and saw his skill level rise accordingly.
Michael McGrail, a midfielder and forward, has the potential to be a big contributor at the next level for Mashpee. The 8th grader played very well this year. “The kid can move the ball fast down the field. He’s got a couple of years before he hits varsity, but he’s going to be ready when he gets there,” Farwell said.
Eighth grade midfielder Colin Macleod worked hard to improve his skill set and played tough on defense for the Falcons. “He did his best to keep the ball in front and from getting past him,” the coach said.
Seventh grader Talon Joia is fast and quick and played forward for the team. He scored a goal this season, runs well up and down the field and is able to get to the net. Fellow 7th grader Michael Samone was undersized against a lot of the competition that he faced—going up against much older high schoolers—but he played hard and did not miss a single game or practice along the way. One of the most-dedicated players on the squad, Samone, Farwell said, will grow into a very competitive player down the road.
With a young roster that had to go up against much-more-experienced and deeper rosters, Farwell said that the JV Falcons gave a solid showing for themselves and that they will reap the benefits of their work down the road: “Despite being short players on our roster, the kids went hard all season long.”