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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood boys soccer goes by a paradigm that gets them through the hardest of times

May 08, 2023 02:41PM ● By Brian Shaw

Riyan Bakrim cuts back on his defender to provide the assist to Arefa Salih (background) making his run to the middle. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

After a difficult stretch to the an abbreviated preseason thanks in large part to a thing called snow, the Cottonwood boys soccer team has settled into its groove a bit—thanks to a paradigm that head coach Brylee Harvest likes to use. 

“Our slogan this year is the same from last year: ‘It’s only crazy until you do it,’” Harvest said. 

“Historically, it is well known that this program has struggled across the years and it means a lot to me to go through all those tough years with these boys. Paradigms are powerful and as a fellow alumni of this program, I’ve always heard of what Cottonwood is/isn’t (much of it isn’t pleasant),” added the head coach who is now in his second year at the school. 

“We were ranked dead last in the Deseret News coaches preseason rankings last year for our region and many thought we were crazy to believe we could win more than two games. This group thrives off of the negativity and doubters and is a big reason we had a season like last year, things really aren’t so crazy after all when you actually do it,” Harvest said. 

Two shutout losses to a highly regarded 4A Green Canyon and Jordan started the Colts off on the wrong foot from a scoreboard’s perspective. 

But Cottonwood [2-2 Region 7, 2-4] came out galloping like a stud racehorse at Stansbury after a sluggish first half, scoring three goals—two from senior midfielder Ulises Alvarado-Morales and another from senior midfielder Jairo Licona-Vera—in a 3-0 win, March 22. 

After another weird week of bad weather that forced the Colts to practice indoors in a limited space, they were able to travel to Cedar Valley and play—but lost 4-0, March 29. 

After that game at Cedar Valley, the Colts wouldn’t play another game until April 10 due to snow. 

That period of inactivity proved costly for Cottonwood, who started slow, giving up two early goals to Tooele. But back came the Colts, getting a goal from senior defender Yusuf Hussein in the second half and nearly grabbing the equalizer in a 2-1 loss, April 10. 

From that mantra of positivity, the Colts responded after a good week of preparation and little to no snow, in a 2-0 drubbing of Stansbury, April 14. Senior Riyan Bakrim and senior midfielder Arefa Salih each got their first goals of the season for Cottonwood, who now has six players who have each scored six of the Colts’ goals. 

With balance like that across the lineup and the ability to bounce back from a loss, you’d be crazy to not think the Colts could actually do it. 

“1985 is a number that has been ingrained in our heads since last year,” Harvest said. “And that is the last region title for boys soccer at Cottonwood and one we are trying to chase this season.” λ