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The City Journals

Brighton boys soccer looks to defend their state title

Apr 29, 2021 09:09AM ● By Tavia Dutson

The Brighton boys soccer team warms up for a game. (Photo courtesy of @brightonbengalsoccer on Instagram)

By Tavia Dutson | [email protected]

When the Brighton boys soccer team got together at the beginning of last spring, they couldn’t wait to get the season started. In 2019, they capped off a 22-1 season with a win over region rival Olympus. Their goal for 2020? Back-to-back titles.

When UHSAA canceled spring sports in March 2020, the Bengals watched that dream slip away. Unable to finish the season, seniors on the team wouldn’t have the opportunity to cap off their high school careers with another state title.

“We would have won the state championship last year. I felt bad for the seniors last year, we had a great group of seniors and they didn't get to play,” said head coach Brett Rosen.

Now, one year later, the Brighton soccer team is ready to chase down that dream. 

“It was hard to take the year off, but I think it just made us want to come out this year and really go after it,” said senior Devin Brog. “Last year, we got screwed. I think this is kind of a redemption year for us.”

The Bengals know that to win another state title, it is going to take more than a few all-star players. Focusing on playing as a unified team is a key part of the culture at Brighton soccer and it has helped lead the program to success.

“It's the team. That’s how we have always been. The team is the standout. We really have a system set up for everyone to contribute. If we get everyone to contribute, we are going to be good. If we start relying on one or two guys that's when we get in trouble,” Rosen said.

When coach Rosen began his tenure at Brighton in 2018, he had a lot of hard-working freshmen entering the program. After four years of growth, Rosen and his class of 16 seniors know what it means to work as a team.

“Us seniors have been playing together for the past four years. We are all great friends. I think that connection we’ve had all four years has shown in our success this year,” Brog said.

While the Bengals are focused on their goal of capturing a state title, they don't like to get caught up in that. Coach Rosen has the team focus on one game at a time. This has paid off, as Brighton boasts one of the best records in the state at seven wins and one loss. The only team that has been able to match this in their division is Wasatch High School.

After their single loss to Hillcrest, Rosen refocused the group. In their next game against Murray the Bengals were able to shut down the Spartans early in a 6-0 win.

“It was a good response. We played today how we should play. I think in our game against Hilcrest we were taking spring break before spring break started. But that was just one game and we showed today that we are back,” said Rosen after their win over Murray.

As the Bengals continue their 2021 season, they will depend on the legacy that Brighton soccer has created over the years. As a member of the 1996-99 Brighton soccer team, Rosen understands that this tradition is important. With seven state titles since 1983, you might expect that the Bengals are feeling the pressure to live up to past Brighton soccer teams.

“It's no pressure,” Rosen said. “Brighton has always been one of the top programs in the state and we want to continue that tradition, but we don't feel pressure to do it. We just want to go play and have fun and see where it leads.”