Birmingham Groves’ Jamie Nichols is pictured during a victory over West Bloomfield High earlier this season. Groves was 3-0-0 overall at press time.

Birmingham Groves’ Jamie Nichols is pictured during a victory over West Bloomfield High earlier this season. Groves was 3-0-0 overall at press time.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Groves soccer team stocked with a very veteran presence

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 16, 2018

Advertisement

BIRMINGHAM — Advantages come in all shapes and sizes, and coaches of any sport at any level will welcome them with open arms.

Few, though, are as well-received and appreciated as what Birmingham Groves girls soccer coach Paul Thomas is working with this spring.

Seniors.

Lots of seniors.

“It’s great,” he said of a roster that features nine seniors.

Of the nine, four have been on the varsity team since their freshman year.

The combined years of varsity experience is nearly 30.

“These girls understand the level we need to play at,” Thomas said. “Going into the season, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I mean, girls understand the system, the style we play, the training required and so on. What we do is kind of ingrained into them, which makes coaching a group like this so nice.”

Following a 9-0 victory over Southfield A&T on April 12, the team was 3-0-0 on the young season with wins also over North Farmington and West Bloomfield High.

“We’ve actually started better than I thought we would,” Thomas said. “We hadn’t beaten North Farmington in a couple years, and the West Bloomfield game was a tight one.”

Along with experience, the Falcons also have depth.

“When we substitute, there’s no drop-off at all,” Thomas said. “That hasn’t always been the case in the past.”

The perfect start is especially encouraging considering last year’s .500 finish and loss in the district opener.

It’s also fueled some lofty goals.

“Whether we are or not, we feel like we’re the team to beat,” Thomas said of the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. “That’s our first goal. We feel like we should be able to compete and win the Blue. Beyond that, it’s been a long, long time since this team won a district game.”

Wins and losses will come and go, but Thomas was also quick to point out another facet of working with such a veteran team.

“They’re a fun group,” he said. “I’ve had three great teams in my time here, but this one brings that additional level of play that makes this pretty sweet.”

Advertisement