Boca Christian eyes state trip Top player to divide time with club, but Blazers have depth.
Boca Raton Christian is a small school with high expectations.
The Blazers, coming off the program’s first district title, have a trip to the soccer state championships on their minds now.
“Last year, our goal going into the season I set for the team was to win that district title, that first-ever district title,” coach David Weil said. “We knew we had the team, we knew we had the talent. It was just a matter of doing it.
“This year, we expect to win the district. It’s not a goal anymore so much as it’s an expectation . ... Our goal is higher. Our goal that we’ve set is to get to states this year.”
The Blazers finished 15-4-4 last season, making a run to the Class 1A regional finals — deeper than any other Palm Beach County boys team advanced in last year’s playoffs — before losing 1-0 to Lakeland Christian, the eventual state runner-up.
As usually happens, Boca Christian did lose key players to graduation. First-team All-Area defender Felipe Fonseca graduated, as did second-team forward Alejandro Barcelo and honorable mention goalkeeper Michael Bradway.
But the key piece to the Blazers’ coming-out season is back. Junior forward Stefan Kneffel, the Post’s Small Schools Player of the Year, returns after having 42 goals and 12 assists last season.
“I want to win states and just score more goals every
year,” Kneffel told the Post after last season. “Every year I try to score more goals and more assists, and that’s how I set my goals.”
There’s one catch, though. Kneffel’s club schedule over- laps Boca Christian’s, so he and Weil worked out a schedule where he could play for both teams. That will mean missing some of the Blazers’ games.
But Weil is confident the rest of the team can pick up the slack. He said he expects a lot from junior midfielder Joao “J.C.” Conceicao and junior forward Felipe Robayo.
built our team around that player for the past two years,” Weil said. “He’s just that good that we can just build the team around him — with a lot of talent at other places, but they’ve all relied on him. This year, that’s not going to be able to be done.
“So there’s two ways the team can respond: Either we can all take a step up and all get better, and then when he rides in, he’ll just add to it and we’ll be a bet- ter team for it. Or we could crumble without him. And we have the talent where we don’t even need Stefan to be as successful.”