RPBHS Boys Soccer Team Looking To Continue Its Winning Ways

The Royal Palm Beach High School boys varsity soccer team. Photo courtesy Malik Hasan

Regardless of how the Royal Palm Beach High School boys varsity soccer team fares in the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 7A post season, the Wildcats will be able to reflect and remember the 2023-24 season as being an outstanding campaign, based on the team’s splendid 16-2-1 record in the regular season.

Under the leadership of head coach Malik Hasan, the Wildcats have had a dominant attack, which produced 75 goals. A stingy defense only allowed 19 goals through.

Junior striker Danny Rodriguez was Royal Palm Beach’s leading goal scorer with 19. Senior teammate Sebastian Montes added another nine goals during the regular season. Of those 16 regular-season victories, nine were shutouts, thanks in large part to the season-long effort of starting goalkeeper, senior Daniel Felipe de Rojas.

The Wildcats finished the regular season by winning six out of their last seven games, during which the Wildcats scored 26 goals and gave up just six.

Hasan has strong words of praise for Rodriguez and de Rojas.

“Danny Rodriguez is talented and understands how to create goal-scoring chances for himself,” Hasan said. “Daniel de Rojas is dependable and has made many big saves for us this year.”

While every team in any sport has team leaders, Hasan’s squad is unified as one on the field.

“We have a group of hardworking boys, who are familiar with one another on the soccer field,” Hasan said.

Another big strength of Hasan’s team is the ability of his athletes to play multiple positions.

“Our players are trained to play a variety of positions on the field,” Hasan explained. “Nobody on this team plays just one position. That gives us great depth at every position. We never have to rely on one person at one position to play well for us to win.”

While it’s important for soccer teams to have a proven goal scorer and a dynamic goalkeeper, it’s vital that successful teams control the midfield and have a solid defense in front of the goalkeeper.

“We have a great set of midfielders who control the game,” Hasan said. “We are solid in the back with our center backs, and we rotate the outside backs throughout the game.”

This season-long efficiency gives Hasan’s team a great deal of confidence going into its Class 7A, District 11 tournament semifinal match against either Wellington High School or Forest Hill High School on Friday, Jan. 26. That game will be played at Royal Palm Beach’s home field. It’s scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.

With a win in that game, the Wildcats will advance to the district championship game on Wednesday, Jan. 31, which will be played at Royal Palm Beach High School, since the Wildcats are the top seed in District 11.

If the Wildcats can claim the district title for the second-straight year, they will earn an automatic bid into the FHSAA’s upcoming Class 7A state playoff series. To qualify for the boys soccer state finals, which will be held at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium in DeLand from Feb. 27 through March 2, the Wildcats will need to win three regional playoff games on Feb. 13, Feb. 16 and Feb. 21.

To go deep into the postseason will require a commitment of unity and togetherness. Hasan likes his team’s chances.

“We are battle-tested,” Hasan said. “As a team, we attack with 11 players, and we defend with 11 players.”

That will be a tough soccer team to beat.