Soccer Preview: Greenhills preparing for another trip to the top of the hill

The Greenhills boys’ soccer came within one game of a state championship last season and there is every indication the Gryphons can kick their way back to the finals again in 2019. They have a good mix of returning players, a few strong newcomers and a coach committed to “the great game” and building the sport at a “great school.”

“This is my 10th year with the program and we achieved a lot during this time,” says head coach Lucian Popesc. “We promoted the ‘beautiful game’ year after year after year and have created a program that is very respected in the state. We developed great individuals capable to excel not only in soccer but in life in general and have promoted many players to play at the college level.”

Greenhills players have been consistently named to All-State, All-Region and All-League teams and the Gryphons have won a State Championship, played in two additional finals, won five Regional titles, nine District titles and numerous league and tournament titles.

Greenhills lost in the State Finals last year after finishing third in the CHSL (Catholic High School League).

Top returning players include senior midfielders Ian Dopp and Gabe Seir, senior forward Safwan Ahmed along with juniors Ben Colis (defender), Nikhil Srinivasan (forward) and MikiasTamrat (midfielder).

Top newcomers include sophomore keeper Cale Piedmonte-Lang and juniors John Webster (forward) and Faizan Shah (defender).

“We also have a very strong freshman class with talent and high potential to break into the varsity team,” says Popescu. 

The goal for the Gryphons is the same as it always is – win it all.

“As always we come with the desire to go to the top,” says Popescu. “We have some experienced players that won a championship and have played in two state finals the last two years.

“But everything needs improvement at their age, mentally, physically, technically, tactically, and in particular the team chemistry due to the fact that we will mix players with experience and new players.”

Popescu says the goal is to learn from coaches, teammates, opponents, professional games, and use every opportunity to get better.

“Always dream for the top,” he says. “No question that the top team and players are the ones with high confidence and desire to be the best every opportunity presented to them. For us as a team and individually this season is another opportunity.”

The Gryphons open the season Aug. 19 in annual Alumni Scrimmage at Greenhills.