Detroit Country Day senior Ammar Siddiqui fires a shot against Detroit Renaissance Sept. 26 at Country Day High School.

Detroit Country Day senior Ammar Siddiqui fires a shot against Detroit Renaissance Sept. 26 at Country Day High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Detroit Country Day soccer’s defense ‘strong point’ in midst of win streak

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 3, 2023

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 Country Day players cheer on their teammates in their 9-0 win over Detroit Renaissance.

Country Day players cheer on their teammates in their 9-0 win over Detroit Renaissance.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


BEVERLY HILLS — A state semifinals loss is always a tough pill to swallow, especially after Detroit Country Day put together an incredible season in 2022.

Luckily for the Yellowjackets, recent history showcases nothing but promise for this year’s squad after Country Day avenged its 2017 state semifinals loss with a state championship win in 2018.

“To us, it was similar to 2017,” Country Day coach Steven Bossert said. “We lost in the state semifinals, and then we were able to win it in 2018, so what you have is a lot of kids returning that have or have had what Grosse Ile had last year.”

Currently holding an eight-game win streak and unbeaten since Aug. 19, the Yellowjackets (11-2-2) are eager to prove themselves once more in the state tournament with the memory of the 2018 team close to them.

So much so that Bossert told his guys right after their loss to Grosse Ile in the state semifinals about the championship mindset of the 2018 team.

“I actually remember coach saying that in the locker room after we lost last year, so it’s definitely in the back of our mind,” senior Zach Rodger said. “It’s a totally different team than the ‘18 team, so we have to find our ways to win.”

Rodger and sophomore Micah Zacks have been vital parts of Country Day’s offensive success this season, filling the void of 2022 senior Ben Farah, who was a Dream Team selection last year. Senior Colin Garrett and junior Antonio Schimizzi have been consistent contributors as well this season.

Rodger was a second team all-State selection in 2022, but played more of a distributor role on the offensive side.

This year, Bossert said he’s asserted himself as a lethal scoring threat.

“He’s just a fantastic player,” Bossert said. “We’ve asked him to score a little bit more than he has in the past. In the past, he’s been more of an assist guy and a playmaker, but we said, ‘Hey, we need you to score more goals.’”

Country Day has averaged just under three goals per game this year, but while improvement has been shown on the offensive side, the Yellowjackets’ defense remains one of the best back lines in Division 3 with a slew of all-State talents.

Allowing just under a goal per game this season, junior goalkeeper Finn Hounsell, a second team all-State selection last season, has been stellar in net this season for Country Day.

Along with Hounsell, all-State defenders Stephen and Andrew Brentano (third team), and junior Alex Eby (honorable mention), forefront the back line this season.

“We just have really experienced center backs, and it’s just kind of our strong point,” Stephen Brentano said.

Stephen and Andrew Brentano, both seniors, are the epitome of how one would expect twins to play together on the defensive side.

Even though they both will tell you they don’t have the twin telepathy, they work as one on the Country Day back line.

“They’re very difficult to get through,” Bossert said. “Even if you get through one, you basically have to do it twice.”

Eby should be on everyone’s radar this year, especially after the impressive season he had in 2022.

Only a junior this year, Eby is having another all-State worthy season.

Bossert said Eby deserves the proper recognition for what he brings to the squad.

“I think he might be the best defender in all of Division 3,” Bossert said. “He’s such a smart player that can do anything, and he’s a great, great defender.”

Off the field, Country Day’s team bond is at its peak, and their team motto of “Family” they wear on their practice shirts speaks volumes.

Whether it was a trip to Boyne in the summer before the season or off-the-field hangouts, the Yellowjackets’ tight-knit group is ready to make their mark this season.

With the 1-0 loss to Grosse Ile in the state semifinals still in the back of their minds, Country Day is one step closer to righting the wrong of last season.

“I think like looking at specific mistakes, you can’t have any lapses in a 90-minute game,” Rodger said. “We made one little mistake, and that ended up losing all the hard work that we did throughout the season. You gotta stay focused throughout the whole 90 minutes of the game.”