Soccer team learns by listening to its coach
Jun 05, 2018 01:04PM
● By Greg James
By Greg James | firstname.lastname@example.org
The captains of the Taylorsville boys soccer team listened to their coach and carried their team to the state soccer tournament.
“This season has been a success beyond what I can measure,” Warriors head boys soccer coach George Sirstins said. “We have had a change of culture as a team. The players are believing in what we have been trying to teach them. Collectively, we are better as a unit even though we may not have premier players like the other teams.”
The beginning of the season had the Warriors struggling to become the unselfish team Sirstins wanted. A 7-0 loss to Herriman marked a low spot in the season.
“We had a player quit, and some kids started back talking a little bit, but our senior captains grabbed this team and kept them on track,” Sirstins said. “They taught their teammates to demand excellence. We wanted to show it; the message comes across.”
“Demand excellence” became the team slogan. They decided to become unselfish and cover for each other.
The Warriors won five of their last seven matches en route to a state tournament-clinching 1-0 victory over Copper Hills on senior night. Kaydon Zamora scored the only goal in the first half, and the Warriors held on despite a barrage of attacks from the Grizzlies.
“I am prouder of this group than any other team I have coached,” Sirstins said. “Pound for pound, they are a great team. When we played Herriman the second time we still lost, but their coach came up to me and said, ‘Either your team improved, or my team got worse.’ We just kept improving and could be playing the best in the state right now (headed into the state playoffs).”
The senior team captains are Dalin Banks, Zamora and Alex Roberts.
The Warriors defense allowed only 28 goals in 16 games. That is top eight in the Utah High School Activities Association 6A classification.
“I feel we have one of the best defenses in the state,” Sirstins said. “Our goalkeeper, Nephi Williams, was not flashy, but played to his strengths. He is not technically trained like some of the goalies in the state. He listens to his team and plays to those strengths.”
The Warriors won six matches this season, an improvement over the single victory they won last year. They have not qualified for the state tournament since their 2015 campaign when they lost in the quarterfinals to Layton 1-0. Taylorsville fell to Cyprus in the first round of this year’s tournament 2-0 on May 15.
“Our team is about family first, school second and soccer third,” Sirstins said. “I had one player tell me, ‘I didn’t believe you when you said we would make it to state.’ This team just gives its all.”
Zamora was the team's leading scorer. He had 10 goals this season. Joseph Rivera and Armond Carrion had two apiece.
“He (Zamora) is not a selfish player,” Sirstins said. “You would never know that he has scored all of these goals this year.”