Multiple players contribute to soccer team rise
"I've been doing this for 18 years and I don't know if I've had a group this close. They're there for each other and are a band of brothers who really believe in what we're doing."- Michael Palermo, Head Boys' Soccer Coach
October 3, 2019
Boys’ soccer, currently in the midst of a landmark season, boasts an impressive record of 8-4-1 halfway through the season. Head Coach Michael Palermo described this team as a “family.”
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I don’t know if I’ve had a group this close,” Palermo said. “They spend Wildcat Hour together. They spend their weekends together. They’re there for each other and are a band of brothers who really believe in what we’re doing.”
This familial atmosphere can be traced back to a coaching staff decision to focus on changing the culture of the soccer program. It took time and a lot of perseverance, but now they are finally at the spot they knew they could be at all along.
Palermo, a Blue Springs soccer alumni, knows exactly how the boys feel, on and off the field.
“You know, I bleed purple and gold. I played here, [and] I want that success so bad for them. I’m a Wildcat just like they are,” Palermo said.
The team began its turnaround last year, finishing with seven regular season wins, and the momentum that they had at the end of the season carried into this year. They have beaten BSS twice this season, and both wins have been really big moments for the team. The first was at a championship match at the Raytown South tournament where the Wildcats went on to win first place, and the second time, last Wednesday at South for the Cancer Battle Cup.
Coach Palermo describes senior Carlos Llamas, whose stats include 12 goals and 4 assists within the first 11 games, as a “very dangerous player.” Adding to their roster depth, freshman standout Garrett Alsup starts every game. Palermo mentioned seniors Alex Maliwat and Max Hays as well as players to keep an eye on.
While this team has its stars, it is most definitely still a matter of the whole team working together to be victorious.
“It’s 18 guys we have, all contributing every game. That’s what’s making us successful,” Palermo said. “We played 18 guys against South, every single player got on that field, and everyone contributed. Some less minutes, some more, but everyone contributes and that’s what is helping us.”
Palermo noted that this group always stays humble. They know their priorities, and do it off the field too.
“Last year our team average was a cumulative 3.9. They’re not so much just kids on a soccer field, they’re good humans, citizens and people. They do it right in the classroom and that carries over to the soccer field,” Palermo said.
Taking it one game at a time, the team typically plays Monday and Wednesday evenings. They have around 11 regular season games left before districts begin, and they can next be seen in action on Monday, October 7th for a home game against Lee’s Summit West.