A Remote Soccer Season


Bryan Berlin

Last year’s JV Boys Soccer Team

During what has been a weird year for everyone in the world—a year filled with isolation and little human interaction—the idea of a functioning sports season seemed very far fetched. However, with the work and cooperation of many members of the Berkeley Carroll community, we have been able to pull off a successful fall season. Even so, with everyone being so isolated it has been very hard to get an idea of what this season has really looked like. In order to gain more perspective, I interviewed Junior Varsity boys’ soccer coach Mr. Swift to get his experience on what coaching a team has been like during this pandemic. 

From what Mr. Swift told me, all teams had practices during typical PE periods (Tuesdays and Thursdays), as well as in-person practices on Fridays once those became available. Many members of the Berkeley Carroll community know what a typical, in-person sports practice looks like but, planning for a zoom practice is very different.

“Well, it was actually really fascinating. We all planned sessions that were very progressive […] everything was carefully planned, from the warm-up to the cooldown, and every skill we were doing was built upon the previous [drill…] Each session was very progressive in terms of starting easy and really working towards more complex and advanced skills,” says Mr. Swift.

A zoom soccer practice is typically conducted with one of the coaches leading while all the players do the drills from their home with the camera focusing on the ball and their feet. The season was catered a lot more to individuals’ improvement rather than improving as a team. This bizarre season could end up being beneficial for the future, as players will be getting more and more confidence from using their own ball and getting individualized advice. As for the few in-person practices that occurred during the fall season, Mr. Swift had these thoughts on how they went.

“Typically we would…emulate what we did on zoom… Everyone brought their own ball and they would not pass to each other. So, it was still individual stationary work. However, just being together… in an outdoor setting in person [was] why we went really; it wasn’t really to do the drills. The big reason was to finally be able to come together and just enjoy each other’s company in person and play,” he stated in an interview.

Over the last couple of years, the JV team has been a very close-knit group, and for incoming freshmen, it could be a little intimidating joining a team without ever being able to introduce yourself properly. Joining a new team without knowing anyone is already difficult, but with the lack of in-person classes, it could be even harder for the freshpeople to fit in with the team. Even with the added challenges, Mr. Swift thought the freshpeople were able to fit into the team without any concern. 

“We had a couple of new guys… I feel like spotlighting and talking to them through the sessions, and [having] the coaches critiquing them, really helped their skill development.  I feel like them coming on Fridays really helped them integrate into the team with the guys and everyone was very, so welcoming and I definitely think once the freshpeople get some more in-person exposure with the team, they’ll feel even more integrated,” Mr. Swift elaborated.

Although this season was not what any had in mind 12 months ago, Berekely Carroll still had a successful first sports season and as we transition into the winter season we are hoping for more of the same as the world slowly comes back to normality.