Pumas playing strong, but haven’t hit full stride


Makayla Gee

Leading the men’s team to their first season victory, Coach Jason Berg is shaking up the program and getting down to business. The first time PHS coach is more than qualified for the job, with over 13 years of experience under his belt, and is obviously succeeding at it. In a current 6-2 overall record, many of the returning players are learning how to mature and lead a team from Berg’s style of coaching.

Junior Kayden Burnes has been playing varsity since his freshman year and is finally
seeing the team excel.

“They’ve been bringing new energy to our team,” Burnes said, “We’ve all been more
committed to this program.”

In addition to challenging his players, Berg is bringing a new, technical tool to help the
team: film.

The use of film isn’t a foreign concept to the players, however, Burnes recalls three
games last year “that we had recorded down but we never watched them as a team
and broke them down.”

The benefits of film are tremendous because of the feedback for the boys. It also
allows Berg to show them his point of view to explain to his team what he sees
as he is coaching them.

Another strategy that Berg is introducing into the play is possession.

“American ball is a lot like kickball- you get the ball and just bomb it every time
instead of possessing and strategically move the ball around the team,” Burnes

Senior Cole Stewart is a witness to the outcomes of this up and coming way of playing: “The
possession style of the game is different for high school because the fields
are so much smaller… so playing a possession style game is something most
high schools don’t do but we’re trying to do something different and create a
new system.”

At the start of the season, Berg’s goal was to create and mature his players in better
ways as people and as athletes. His new implements in practices and game plays
are evidently taking effect.  

“We still have a lot to work,” Berg said, “We need to be mentally possessive of it more
and we need to take care of possession more.”

On the technical side of the game, factors of play such as switching and ball control
are areas Berg sees the group growing in.

“We have space is wide, the switch is on. Especially with three defenders, they play a
three-four-three, and everyone had shifted over and we had space to switch, we
got to switch it over sooner,” Berg said.

As the team learns to grow together, Berg is able to use his experience to lead his players
to more and more victories than the program has ever seen.

Going forward in the season, Berg is continuously raising the bar for all his athletes. The program has always been solid in its records as a whole, but Coach Berg is bringing radical change to the game and the style in high school soccer. He is trying to make the team’s possession abilities more advanced, this style is more professional and will make the game easier for the players. So far this style change has earned them six wins overall, with only two losses.