Kicking into new gear

Currently third in district, boys’ soccer team to begin second leg of district matches


Van Mawi

Senior DJ Koulai prepares to pass the ball during the game against Flower Mound.

Playoffs are still in sight as the boys’ varsity soccer team (11-2-3, 3-2-2 district) looks to recover from its second loss of the season at Hebron (13-0-1, 6-0-1 district). The team is headed to Flower Mound (4-2-1, 3-2-1) tonight to face the Jaguars for the second time for one of their final seven regular season games. 

Senior midfielder and forward DJ Koulai has been the team’s leading scorer all season, netting 20 goals in 17 games. He’s scored multiple goals in six of them, including a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Nimitz during the Kyle Fritz Memorial Tournament. 

“He gets a lot of opportunities to score,” junior center back Adrian Garcia said. “We don’t really game plan just around him; he’s always there at the right place [and] right time.”

On the other side of the field, senior goalkeeper Edwin Beltran and the team’s defense have stopped all but 10 goals this season. Only Flower Mound and Hebron have allowed less goals with seven and nine respectively.

The team currently sits in third in District 6-6A, behind Hebron and Flower Mound. For that reason, it’s not shocking that both teams are responsible for the Farmers only two losses so far. The Jaguars handed the team its first loss by a score of 2-1 after an 8-0-1 start through preseason tournament games.

Flower Mound did a really good job of negating what we like to do and on the night [they] were the better team,” head soccer coach Brandon McCallum said. “We typically stick with what we know, [and] might make a couple small changes when we see them again.”

On the other hand, Hebron remains undefeated and is ranked 9th among the nation’s top teams on’s Winter season soccer rankings. Coppell (7-2-5, 2-1-4 district) sits at 54th, three spots behind the Farmers. After a 3-2 loss in Carrollton, the team will match up against the Hawks at home to close out the regular season on March 14. 

“It was just the little things that we need to fix,” center back Frank Rivas said. “Little mistakes ended up costing us that game.”

The team hopes to make a run in the state playoffs in the spring, and has already accomplished some of its goals. The 4-0 victory over Rock Hill marked the 300th career win for the team with McCallum as the head coach. 

“Honestly I was glad to get it out of the way in the first game this year and not having it weigh on us,” McCallum said. “I had nine months to think about it as I was on 299 career wins after we beat Jesuit in the Playoffs last year. Had the opportunity to get to 300 career wins in the Regional Quarterfinal vs. McKinney Boyd but came up short.”

Koulai’s success has also been important as the team looks to finally get the school a Division 1 recruit. He has already outperformed his junior season in which he scored 16 goals and helped guide the team to the third round of the playoffs. 

In his 13 years coaching the team, McCallum hasn’t had a player receive a Division 1 scholarship, nor has the team reached a state title game. With returning starters and a challenging schedule to go along with the team’s strong start, those goals aren’t out of reach. 

“Every team in our District is a solid side,” McCallum said. “There are no days off, every night presents different challenges.”