Boys Soccer team rallies under new coaching

A reinvigorated culture emerges under head coach Brandon Daley’s new practice techniques and strategies


Sama Abughalia

Boys soccer head coach Brandon Daley talks to his team during a home game against Olathe North on Sep 2.

By Ryan Hardie, Sports Editor

In former boy’s soccer coach Murphy’s last season in 2020, COVID-19 had a massive impact on the soccer team’s traditions and practices. This presented a chaotic situation where new coaching was needed and normalcy had yet to return to the Lawrence High sports teams. 

When the head coach position opened up for the soccer team there was an obvious candidate: Brandon Daley. 

Coach Daley was the longtime JV and the assistant varsity coach before taking on the role of head coach.

“I was the JV Coach and varsity assistant at LHS for eight seasons previously. I was able to grow, make mistakes, find my identity, find what I wanted to continue in the program, what I wanted to improve upon and what I wanted to see added to the program.”  Daley said.

With previously built relationships and connections from being on the coaching staff, it was a very smooth transition for Daley. Additionally, as many of JV’s top players were promoted to varsity, Daley was already familiar with their work habits and play styles.

“I have made a lot of great connections with families from coaching multiple athletes over the years,”  Daley said, “and have benefited from their support and trust.”

Boys soccer players form a wall during a home game against Mill Valley Sep 14. (Kenna McNally)

The soccer team feels the same way, and they speak fondly of the family-like relationship being formed among the team. Many compared it to a club team.

“I think there is more of an essence of family and a harder work ethic going around under coach Daley,”  senior Aiden Berndsen-Perez said. “Everybody wants to work hard for each other this year, and there’s not really a lot of toxicity. He’s been teaching more of a familial aspect of the program, and he’s making sure everyone is respecting LHS soccer.”

Expectations for the season have come along with the new coaching change. The team is hoping for a winning record and a regional championship. 

“We’re hoping to go over .500. Shooting for ten wins or more this season, and a regional championship is always up there. If we can do that then hopefully we can make it to state and see how far we can go,” Berndsen-Perez said. “Hopefully we do the best we can during the regular season. Then we’ll see how far we can make it into the postseason and learn from our mistakes so far.”

The keys to this success are through a change in the team’s practice style that coach Daley introduced this season. By putting emphasis on technical skill and comradery, Daley is hoping for team success and better individual players as well.

“The coach’s possession-based style has given the team more confidence on the ball, and it’s allowed us to play more freely and smoothly. In the last few years, we seemed to focus more on the physical aspect as with this year it is more technical,” senior Josh Anderson said.

Daley believes the new strategies have worked.

“I believe it has had a positive impact in terms of creating a culture of identity, belonging, and development,” Daley said. “I wanted to make sure every member of our program felt proud, seen, and a contributing member working toward our goals.”

The team opened the season with wins over Seamen and Topeka High, and they are hoping to keep onwards towards a winning season as the year progresses.

“This year’s team is more complete and has a better sense of what we need to do to win,” said Anderson.