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Poland’s U15 boys end season at 12-1-1

October 31, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Poland U15 Boys Soccer Team has won the prestigious 2018 Ohio North Sam Bothwell Cup. They earned it by defeating a previously undefeated Austintown team by a score of 2-1 in the Black Division championship game, which was played at the Plain Township Diamond Soccer Complex in Canton on Oct. 21.

In pool play, Poland defeated both Perry United and the Canton Lightning Soccer Club, before tying archrival Canfield to earn the right to advance to the championship game. This was the second time in three years that the team has won the Bothwell Cup and they have a 12-1-1 overall record on the season.

According to head coach Skip Slaven, the travel soccer program is a community based program and is not associated with a club. The program is to act as a "feeder" system to high school soccer and the system is designed to do just that.

Article Photos

Poland U15 Boys Soccer team wins the Ohio North Bothwell Cup. Team members include, in front, Patrick Dambrogio, Matt Boccieri, Aiden Davis, Dante DeGenova, and Will Varley.  In second row are head coach Skip Slaven, Antonio D'Alesio, Alex LaPlante, Andrew Slaven, Stephen Yerian, assistant coach Rich Davis and assistant coach Greg Maurer. In third row are Joseph Hillyer, Aidan Wire, Carson Maurer, Jacob Allsopp, Evan Antil and Johnny Spagnola.

"This is the last year of travel (eighth grade) soccer for the boys," Slaven said. "Its high school next year [for them]."

The U15 boys started out in 2014 with (12) players, Slaven said. The number of players on the field and subsequent roster sizes increase with player age.

"We have been fortunate to retain eight of the original 12 and add 10 to the group as allowed over the five years of the team," he said.

The team begins its work in the summer, practicing three days a week for about one-and-a-half hours. Once the season begins and school starts, the practice drops to two a week.

When asked what has been instrumental in the team's success, Slaven replied, "I'd guess you're referring to wins and losses and I'd like to tell you it was great coaching, but it has more to do with the talent of the boys and the team chemistry. As a coach I try to focus not so much on wins and losses, but on player improvement, team unity, perseverance, and above all effort. I was blessed with coaches and parents that shared in that philosophy and it has lead to a "successful" campaign."

This year the Poland High School soccer and football teams ended their seasons with losses to Canfield. Slaven said he doesn't focus too much on wins and losses, but he was hoping to prevail in the last-ever meeting against Canfield during the YAYSL tournament, which came to pass.

As for the future of the team, Slaven had this to say: "I've tried to give them an opportunity to grow and enjoy this small piece of their lives. It's a precious and fleeting time. I see in these boys the work ethic, aptitude, and attitude to continue to be successful. I'm hopeful that they take with them a few great memories of travel soccer."

 
 

 

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