The Brookhaven High School boys soccer team used athleticism and offensive ability to make it to a Division I district semifinal in 2008 and 2009 and win City championships each of the last two seasons.

The Brookhaven High School boys soccer team used athleticism and offensive ability to make it to a Division I district semifinal in 2008 and 2009 and win City championships each of the last two seasons.

If the Bearcats continue that run of strong play, it could be with a formula that features defense, ball control and midfield precision.

"My belief in soccer is that your midfield wins games, and typically I play my best players in the midfield," fourth-year coach Paul Hackworth said. "We've still got quite a bit of team speed, but this year we want to be real technical."

Senior returnee Hambdi Farah and senior Abass Farah, who didn't take the required number of courses to be eligible last fall, will lead the midfield. Juniors Thomas Vomboi and Clement Osei-Bonsu are returnees who also will be in the midfield, along with junior Abu Kamara and sophomore Emmanuel Achirem.

Senior Kwadjo Bugyei is back to lead a defense that also should include first-year seniors Mahad Mohamed and Boubacar Thaim.

Junior Alassane Samba is taking over at goalkeeper, with freshman Jalim Bayo and juniors Edward Donkor and Abu Kamara also up front.

Also on the team are senior Abderrahman Moussaid, juniors Abdi Abdi, Wess Green and Grant Parker and sophomore Andrews Osei-Bonsu.

The Bearcats lost a senior class that featured two players who Hackworth said are playing collegiately this fall in Osman Kamara (Wright State) and Rex Mensah (Akron). Jibril Jama, another 2010 graduate, set a program record for career goals with 52.

Brookhaven lost to Delaware 3-2 in the first round of the district tournament to finish 13-3 overall last year. The Bearcats went 5-0 in the City League-North Division to place ahead of Centennial (4-1), Whetstone (3-2), Mifflin (2-3), Beechcroft (0-4-1) and Northland (0-4-1). They then defeated Columbus West 7-0 for the City title.

After only five of the City-South schools had boys soccer last season, City administrators combined the City-North and City-South into one league.

The top two placers, regardless of whether they traditionally compete in the City-North or City-South, will play for the City championship.

Beechcroft has a new coach in Matt Glorioso, who played for Ohio Dominican and coached at Lexington for three years. He replaces Dan Zedeker, who headed the team for one season and now is coaching the Cougars' girls cross country team.

Beechcroft went 5-8-2 overall last year, including a 7-0 loss to Worthington Kilbourne in the first round of the district tournament. A pair of juniors who were key players, Edgar Cruz (forward) and Abdi Osman (defender), are back. Cruz made honorable mention all-City last year.

Senior Ohene Osei, juniors Sahr Kondokwi, Dustin Poindexter and Kofi Yeboah and sophomores Alpha Barry and David Gabianou should be other key players.

"We have a very skilled and talented group of guys if we can get them to mold as a unit," Glorioso said. "Defending might be our biggest challenge."

Northland also has a new coach in Mike McDaniel after going 4-9-1 last season under Shaun McClain, who headed the team for one year. McDaniel also is the school's softball coach.

The Vikings, who lost to Thomas Worthington 7-0 in the second round of the district tournament, have a trio of veterans to depend on in seniors Phil Kamara (defender), Harold Mintsop (goalkeeper) and Daniel Smith (midfielder/defender). Other seniors are Mamadou Diallo (midfielder/forward) and Josh Kumi (defender).

Also expected to contribute are juniors Eugene Asare-Boadi, Dario Dragicevic, Vitien Forcha, Alejandro Nunez and Amjed Osman and sophomores Martine Montero and Alberto Vargas.

"We're getting better overall as a team," McDaniel said. "The biggest thing is for them to be helping the whole team out instead of relying on individuals."

•The Northland girls soccer program has a new coach after Victoire Moore took over in early August. Ryan Hunter had coached the Vikings the last two seasons.

Moore, a 2006 Beechcroft graduate who helped assist at her alma mater last year, has 19 athletes on her team, including seniors Sumeya Abdullahi, Maria Gutierrez, Diamonty Moore, Alexandria Pickett, Grace Saydee and Jasmine Smith and juniors Precious Boateng, Ann Cooper, Alexandria Goldsmith, Lovena Koroma and Sendy Matute.

Last season, Northland lost to Dublin Scioto 9-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 6-10 overall. The Vikings went 6-2 against City teams.

"They're a good group of girls and they work hard," Moore said. "They all took the initiative this summer to keep practicing, which shows their commitment."

Ashley Pence is back for her second season as Beechcroft's coach after leading the program to a 2-9 finish last year. The Cougars lost to Dublin Jerome 14-0 in the first round of the district tournament.

Senior Brittany Bohanan is back at goalkeeper and senior Kandace Jemison returns at forward. Also expected to contribute are seniors Brittany Buckery, Robyn Calhoun and Makayla Garnes and juniors Halee Cannady and Lauren Jenkins.

"We're really focusing on conditioning, so this team is going to be in better shape," Pence said. "Our goal is to win more games than we did last year and to play harder and more aggressively."

•Northland's girls tennis team returns several key players after finishing third in the City-North at 4-2 last season, behind Centennial (6-0) and Whetstone (4-1).

Senior Donna Nguyen, who played third singles and second doubles last year, has moved up to first singles. Senior Tatiana Chapple and junior Symone Denham are returnees who should team up at first doubles.

Sophomore Alexis Peterson wasn't on the team last year but is expected to play second singles, with sophomore Sember Moore at third singles.

Others on the team are senior Taren Mahone, junior Alexis Bridges and freshman Brooklyn Peterson.

Several of the players also are members of Northland's basketball program.

"We've got a bunch of new players," coach Allen Jarrett said. "They're all having fun and it gets them ready for basketball."

Brookhaven went winless in the City last year and returns no players with previous experience. Sophomore Senetra Cain, junior Jazmine Jackson and sophomore Kaitlin Crawford are expected to comprise the top three singles spots. Junior Miguelina Perez and sophomores Teddy Anderson, Meesha Freeman and Raven Gordon are playing doubles.

"We just want them to have fun," coach Joaquin Jordan said. "We're teaching them the fundamentals, and hopefully this will be a sport they'll play for the rest of their lives."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Beechcroft, Brookhaven and Northland boys and girls cross country, football, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and volleyball teams:

BEECHCROFT

CROSS COUNTRY

Today - Boys, girls: At Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North in opener

FOOTBALL

Friday - At Independence in opener. Beechcroft beat the 76ers 34-0 in 2007 in the last meeting between the teams.

BOYS SOCCER

*Last Tuesday - Played Columbus West in opener *Tuesday - At Mifflin

GIRLS SOCCER

Today - At Columbus East in opener Tuesday - At West Jefferson

GIRLS TENNIS

*Last Tuesday - Played Brookhaven in opener *Today - Home vs. Columbus West *Monday - At Columbus South *Tuesday - Home vs. Briggs

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Tuesday - At Centennial in opener

BROOKHAVEN

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Wednesday - Boys, girls: Competed at New Albany Invitational in opener Wednesday - Boys, girls: At Canal Winchester Invitational

FOOTBALL

Friday - Home vs. Marion-Franklin in opener. Brookhaven beat the Red Devils 23-21 last season.

BOYS SOCCER

Last Tuesday - Played Madison Christian in opener *Today - At Mifflin Monday - At Granville Tuesday - At Temple Christian

GIRLS TENNIS

*Last Monday - Opener against Centennial postponed to Aug. 310 *Last Tuesday - Played Beechcroft *Today - At Whetstone *Monday - Home vs. Eastmoor Academy *Wednesday - Home vs. Walnut Ridge

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Saturday - At Delaware in opener *Tuesday - Home vs. Whetstone

NORTHLAND

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Wednesday - Boys, girls: Competed at New Albany Invitational in opener Saturday - Boys, girls: At Celina Invitational

FOOTBALL

Friday - Home vs. Eastmoor Academy in opener

BOYS SOCCER

*Last Tuesday - Played Centennial in opener *Today - Home vs. Briggs *Tuesday - At Whetstone

GIRLS SOCCER

Last Monday - Lost to Watkins Memorial 8-0 in opener Today - At Tree of Life Tuesday - Home vs. Worthington Christian Wednesday - Home vs. Briggs

GIRLS TENNIS

*Last Monday - Played Columbus South in opener *Last Tuesday - Played Columbus West *Monday - Home vs. Independence *Wednesday - At Briggs

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Monday - Home vs. Franklin Heights in opener *Tuesday - At Columbus East Wednesday - At Briggs

*City League contest