Warren Cousino’s Endri Haxhiu heads for the Macomb Dakota net on his way to scoring a goal Sept. 4. The Patriots are in the Macomb Area Conference White Division after winning two straight MAC Blue titles.

Warren Cousino’s Endri Haxhiu heads for the Macomb Dakota net on his way to scoring a goal Sept. 4. The Patriots are in the Macomb Area Conference White Division after winning two straight MAC Blue titles.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Cousino boys soccer ready to test mettle in new league

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published September 6, 2019

 Cousino’s Gabriel Bialek heads the ball against Dakota. The Patriots’ next game is against New Baltimore Anchor Bay at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 on the road.

Cousino’s Gabriel Bialek heads the ball against Dakota. The Patriots’ next game is against New Baltimore Anchor Bay at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 on the road.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

WARREN — The Warren Cousino boys soccer team has moved to the Macomb Area Conference White Division from the MAC Blue, which the Patriots won in 2017 and 2018. The team, though, is carrying itself like a contender in its new league, according to coach Kelsie Brown.

“Having a target on our back is nothing new for this program,” said Brown, whose team sat at 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the MAC White at press time. “We had a target on our backs for three years in the MAC Blue (while) trying to prove ourselves as a legitimate program, which we did.

“Now, in the MAC White, we find ourselves in the same position: looking to prove ourselves to not only the other MAC White teams, but also ourselves to show we’re capable of playing at this level. So far the kids have handled the pressure well. They respect all, yet fear none.”

Cousino’s new divisional foes include New Baltimore Anchor Bay, Romeo High, Fraser High, Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe South and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. Three different teams have won the last three MAC White titles, with LCN coming out on top in 2018.

Brown said her team has looked better than expected early on.

The squad had just two practices before its first game Aug. 19 — a 2-1 loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. Two days later, Cousino rebounded to down Warren Mott 7-3.

“As a coach, we’re trying to determine which formations work best and what kids play best in what positions,” Brown said. “The boys have responded well to what has been asked of them.”

Brown said conditioning was an issue early on. She expects that to improve.

Another area the Cousino coach believes the team must work on is scoring.

“In order to win games, you have to be able to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Brown, whose team had outscored opponents 12-8. “We need to capitalize on all scoring opportunities, as we know they will be few and far between, especially playing in the MAC White.”

Brown said there is a significant difference in the level of play between the MAC Blue and MAC White. The Patriots have played one divisional game so far — a 2-1 Aug. 23 loss to Grosse Pointe North. Brown said the speed of play and the ability to maintain possession of the ball stood out.

“We’re no longer playing kick-and-run soccer, which is typical of high school soccer,” Brown said. “Playing at a higher level of competition can only make our program, and my team, stronger.”

Brown — who lists captains Anthony Waller and Yousif Askar, along with Aymen Khoshaba and Endri Haxhiu, as team leaders — sees unity as the team’s strong suit.

The coach said the level of camaraderie exhibited by the players is unparalleled.

“It’s amazing to see the level of support the guys give one another on the field, in the classroom and at social events,” Brown said. “These boys come to practice every day with the mindset of making each other better. I’ll take that any day over a few talented individuals.”

Brown is genuinely excited about the new season.

“We just have to focus on the task at hand, taking and winning each individual game as they come. We can’t get ahead of ourselves thinking about division titles and playoffs just yet,” she said. “We know we have a lot to prove, and it starts with earning the respect of the (teams in) the MAC White by putting numbers on the board and winning games.”

Cousino’s next game is against Anchor Bay at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 on the road.

Advertisement