The Soccer Team that Wasn’t Supposed to Be
It was only a year ago when Mark Sontag, M.D. promised his family that he would not coach again. His medical practice required many night meetings and his family was ready for him to stay home and he had coached 30 teams over 11 years for his daughter and son. However, time has a way of changing things. In September, he was approached by another dad with a deal—if Mark would coach the U14 boys AYSO soccer one more year, he would co-coach with him. Of course the always willing Mark agreed and it was at the coaches “drafting” table, when players are assigned to teams, that Dr. Sontag found out that his co-coach would not, in fact, be there—his son decided not to play AYSO soccer. Mark was left with the commitment to coach, with no assistance, and not enough players to form a team.
With the help of friends, a call went out for any players interested in joining an AYSO team—all comers were welcomed. It was this non-traditional beginning for the team named “The Fat Kids” that became a lesson in what being a team really means.
The season is now over. The team had an undefeated record during season play. It went into the play-offs and remained undefeated in the post-season play-offs until last Sunday when a team from Pacifica bested the Fat Kids 2-1. The team was 1 game short of going to the State championships. Its record for both season and post-season play was 17 wins, 1 loss. Every member of the team played every game. Every member of the team scored at least one goal. Every member of the team played both offensive and defensive positions. The goalie, Richard Livingston broke his wrist blocking an intended goal.
According to Sontag, “this was the best coaching experience of my career—the boys were focused and played as a team; not as a bunch of individuals.” This record is remarkable since the team was comprised of players from Portola Valley, Woodside, Menlo Park and Redwood City. Another father, Ned Guilhuily, stepped forward and led many of the practices. A high school Junior who plays soccer for Menlo School, Charles Le Moullac also helped the team practice.
Members of the Fat Kids are: Alexander Carlisle, Zach Chase, Richard Cornew, Kellan Draeger, Marshall Gifford, John Gilhuily, Josh Godfrey, Richard Livingston, Donald Livingston, Christian Peraza, Max Polkinhorne, Jordan Sontag, Russell Sutter, Chris Waschura and Philip While. Matt Giordano substituted for Richard Livingston after his broken wrist prevented him from playing.
Front Row L to R: Richard Livingston, Zach Chase, Christian Peraza, Philip White, Alexander Carlisle, Matt Giordano, Donald Livingston.
Back Row L to R: Kellan Draeger, Ned Guilhuily, John Guilhuily, Richard Cornew, Josh Godfrey, Russell Sutter, Marshall Gifford, Chris Washura, Mark Sontag, Jordan Sontag, Max Polkinhorne.