There is a spirit within the Bishop’s soccer team, and it combines passion and technical skill. But there is also fire, like the fire that senior defensive back Parviz Henderson brings.
Says Wyatt Linggi, a freshman wing and striker on offense, “When Parviz tells you something, you know he means it. After a play, he’ll say, ‘It needs to be less sloppy.’ Or if it’s good, he’ll say, ‘I like the way you (did something).’ I like that.”
Says Logan Schwarz, a center defensive midfielder, “Parviz is commanding on the field. Physically, for sure, but also with his voice. He’s really good at getting the energy level of the team where it needs to be.”
In all, a senior core of Schwarz, Henderson, striker Alonso Garcia, left wing Julen Givelber, goalie Timmy Kelly, left back Mohammed Samb, and defender Charlie Mossy are leading a talented group of juniors and underclassmen. That has resulted in key wins over Country Day, 2-1, and Classical Academy, 3-2.
“We’re trying to carry on the tradition of stellar Bishop’s soccer,” says second-year assistant coach Joey Yusunas, himself a former Knight star whose squads won three Coastal Conference titles during his four years of high school. “The tradition of winning was begun by coach Sam Manneh, who sadly we lost in January 2019.” Bishop’s won 10 straight titles in the years 1987-1998.
Asserts Givelber of his head coach, Shane Walton, “One of his main messages is we have to be accountable for what we do. We get out what we put in.” In the same vein, Yusunas, checking his watch at the start of practice on a recent school day, says, “This isn’t soccer-specific, but being on time and being ready to play are among the things we try to impress on the players.”
Dhruvi Banerjee, a junior right wing, notes the bond among team members, including his with Henderson. “We’ve been on the same team for three years,” says the 17-year-old. “I aspire to be as physical as Parviz is.”
Schwarz, a senior captain, believes in physicality. His motto: “You won’t get hurt if you go in hard on a tackle.” His insights on teammates:
Garcia: “He has the work ethic of a horse. Alonso will go for every ball, sprinting and tackling.”
Givelber: “Julen will beat anybody down the line. He’ll finish with a great cutback and a cross.”
Kelly: “Besides the fact he’s a good goalie, a great penalty-kick goalie, too, Timmy has an outstanding attitude.”
Samb: “He had one of the best goals I’ve ever seen against Country Day. Somebody takes it down line (I think Alonso), he cuts it, then passes across the top of the box. Mohammed was farther back. He came running in from the left back. He hits it one time, then the ball flies to the top right corner of the goal over the goalie. The goalie is jumping back like this [demonstrates his outstretched hand falling short].”
Pierce Wagner, a freshman: “He is very good at tapping the ball around the enemy players in the middle — some tiki taka.”
Ethan Kjos, a sophomore: “He will hold the back line down very well. The ball rarely gets past him.”