1-0-1 Boys Soccer Team Prepares For Needham


The 2014 Boys Soccer Captains

Ben Brownsword


A senior Midfielder passes the ball around a Brookline defender.
A senior Midfielder passes the ball around a Brookline defender.

At the end of the 2013 regular season, Walpole Boys Soccer looked like a one-and-done cinderella team. Barely squeaking into the tournament as a #13 seed, the Rebels were a longshot for a title bid.  However, the team found their form at the perfect time and exceeded all expectations by winning the Division 2 South Title before losing to Masconomet in the Division 2 Title game.  With sixteen seniors on last year’s roster, this year’s team needs to fill a lot of holes in the lineup.

In the opening week of the season, Walpole defeated Newton North by a score of 2-0 on September 3 with goals coming from senior Tommy Helm and junior Captain Ian Fair. They also drew Brookline 1-1 with the lone goal coming from sophomore John Egan on September 5.

With a 1-0-1 record, the Rebels will have to work this year because the Bay State League is filled to the gills with perennial contenders like Needham, Wellesley and several others.  Their biggest test of the young season is September 9, as they face off at home against Needham, who was ranked 2nd in the state by ESPN Boston.

Based on the lineups for the first two games, Walpole’s greatest strength appears to be their experience on defense.  Led by senior Captain Chris Gallivan as stopper and junior Captain Ian Fair as sweeper, the defense has more experience than any other position group.  With junior Dillon Knight as a first year starting keeper, the defense will need to control the back third of the field until Knight gets comfortable in his varsity position.

The Walpole Stopper and Sweeper limit the Brookline offense to only one goal.
The Walpole Stopper and Sweeper limit the Brookline offense to only one goal.

While the Midfield and Forward Positions lack the experience of the defense, Coach Lee Delaney needs to rely on last year’s utility players to step up as starters.  Senior Nabil Chamoun — who occasionally started last year alongside graduate AJ Chauvin — will need to become a reliable goal-scorer for the Rebels.  So far this season, he has started with sophomore Justin Burns, but neither have hit the back of the net yet.  Through two games, the Rebels biggest offensive weapon appears to be set pieces: all three of their goals have been off of headers (One each by Egan, Fair, and Helm).  Because many of the offensive players are settling into their positions, the set pieces allow for the height of the defense (especially Fair and Gallivan) to have an impact on the offense.

Helping in the midfield, senior Captain Joe Delaney and PJ Fuller have anchored the team through the first two games while junior Andrew Noyes and freshman Billy Porter have also seen some time in the Center Midfield and Outside Midfield positions.

Currently, many speculate that this year may be Coach Delaney’s last year at the helm, for this year will be his son’s last year on the team.  The added motivation of Delaney’s potential retirement could spur the Rebels to complete what last year’s team fell just short of: winning a Division 2 state title and completing the longtime coach’s legacy.

“Living up to the legacy of the seniors will be really difficult,” said Junior Captain Ian Fair, “but I think our team has the potential to have a good season if we put in the work.”