Cougars hungry for success, kickoff boys soccer tonight

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, October 24, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Head Coach Alex Brown said the Brookhaven Academy boys soccer team is “hungry,” coming into the 2023 soccer season. BA lost 2-0 to Madison St. Joe in the state semi-finals last year and want revenge. 

Brown said the loss left a sour taste in the team’s mouth. Brookhaven Academy has eight returning starters including goal scoring phenom Yohan Hernandez. 

The Cougars have experienced players who gained valuable time in the playoffs last year. Brown believes it could be their best team yet. 

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“We have several transfers that have come in and it has raised the level of competition and training,” Brown said. “I think this is the deepest roster I’ve had here. I have at least 16 or 17 guys I can rely on. Depth is important because in the past we have had injuries or had guys get sick. Being down three starters hurt the team in previous years.” 

Hernandez stepped up into a leadership role after his cousin Enrique Hernandez graduated. Matt Newman, Cooper Strickland, Andrew Estes and Levi Dale matured over the past year. 

Cougar fans should be excited by a few new transfers to the program. Jesus Antonio came in from Crystal Springs and will be a force in the midfield. 

Englishman Noah Fisher Butler is a study abroad student at Brookhaven Academy this year. Brown said he brings a different standard of soccer to the program. 

BA put a major emphasis on strength and conditioning in the off-season. The more physically fit a team is, the better their focus, control and tactical play will be. 

Players have improved passing, dribbling and their first touch which allows for the game to flow better. Brown said they have learned the game over the years so he is able to implement more tactics into his coaching. He has matured with the program. 

“I still have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot in the last seven or eight years of coaching. Matured and grown,” Brown said. “All the kids I have been blessed to coach. I’ve matured in several victories and learned from defeats. I hope I can use that to benefit the kids and help them grow and mature in everything they do in life.” 

Brookhaven Academy will play Hattiesburg Home School today at 6 pm to open the season. Brown said they hope to learn more about the team tonight. 

“We are trying to learn where people will play. They can play at so many different paces,” Brown said. “If I need them I have a lot who can move around. It is about piecing the puzzle together.”