West Bloomfield High’s Drew Perryman chases after the ball against Imlay City High Aug. 22. The Lakers won 3-0.

West Bloomfield High’s Drew Perryman chases after the ball against Imlay City High Aug. 22. The Lakers won 3-0.

Photo by Donna Agusti


West Bloomfield High soccer looking to build on last season’s success

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 29, 2019

 West Bloomfield High’s David Martin looks to make a play against Imlay City High Aug. 22. At press time, the Lakers were 5-0 overall.

West Bloomfield High’s David Martin looks to make a play against Imlay City High Aug. 22. At press time, the Lakers were 5-0 overall.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — A year after winning the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, the West Bloomfield High boys soccer team is looking for more of the same this season.

Now in the OAA White, the Lakers want to prove themselves and compete for another league title. Early on, their play has done the talking, as the Lakers were 5-0 overall at press time.

“The biggest thing is proving ourselves,” Lakers coach Jason Clark said. “A lot of (players) were really talented last year on JV, and they kind of took this as their chance to shine, and they’re taking it and running with it.”

That hot start wouldn’t be possible without the play of the defense and goalkeeper Elijah Burlak. Through five games this season, West Bloomfield has allowed just two goals and has four shutouts.

“Goalkeeping is very strong. Elijah’s just been phenomenal,” Clark said. “They’ve been organized in the back, and they’re listening to everything we say and we tell them as coaches, so it’s a positive for us.”

Depth is another area that has helped West Bloomfield find its footing early in the season. Clark noted that he doesn’t see a drop-off from his players on the bench.

Senior captain David Martin has also seen an increased level of talent on this team that he believes could lead the Lakers to a special season.

“Definitely a lot more talent this year,” Martin said. “A lot of kids that grew up playing travel soccer rather than just high school, so it’s nice to have that extra talent, whereas last year we just had a bunch of hard workers and high school players.”

As the season continues to heat up, the Lakers have no problem talking about the goals they have set and what it will take to achieve them.

Clark is aware of how challenging the OAA White is, but being at the top is where the Lakers want to be. At press time, the Lakers hadn’t seen a divisional opponent but had knocked off two OAA Red teams.

West Bloomfield defeated both Troy High and Berkley High in shootouts to win the Lightning Cup the weekend of Aug. 24. Those wins allowed the Lakers’ confidence to grow, but staying focused on one game at a time is Clark’s mission.

“They’re still young and inexperienced, I would say, so I don’t want to build up their heads too big,” Clark said. “If they’re focused and locked in, that’s their biggest problem ... can we handle it mentally? I think once they’re locked in, they’re ready for games, they’re as good as anybody.”

The Lakers will take the field again at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Bloomfield Hills High.

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