The Bleach Boys culture shines in 2023-24 season

Archie Williams senior Lochlan McLean embraces junior Willy Finley after his goal against Branson on Jan. 9.
Archie Williams senior Lochlan McLean embraces junior Willy Finley after his goal against Branson on Jan. 9.
Luca Roy

After missing the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) playoffs in their 2022-23 season, the rising boys varsity soccer seniors led the 2023-24 Bleach Boys on a remarkable postseason run. The team achieved a new Archie Williams record by reaching the MCAL, North Coast Section (NCS), and California Interscholastic Federation NorCal (CIF) championship games this season. The senior captains led the team through the season and carried on the culture that resides in the Archie Williams soccer program.

“This year was exciting and rewarding, as our team made it to the MCAL, NCS and [CIF] NorCal Finals. Off the field, our team brought in our philosophy of integrity, service and community, which made coaching the boys super fun and special,” said head varsity coach Rene Ayala.

The Bleach Boys celebrate their senior night after a game on Feb. 2. (Luca Roy)

Going into the season, Archie Williams was predicted to finish seventh in MCAL play. Senior captains Cole Sullivan, Lochlan McLean, Max Crock, and Elliot Smith all worked to help the team achieve their playoff qualification. They propelled the Falcons to a second place finish in MCALs, with a 4-2-2 MCAL record.

“This group of seniors is leaving a legacy of winning and leadership, which will be hard to replicate. They have grown into empathetic, conscientious, mature leaders that will make the world a better place,” Ayala said. 

Their first championship stop was to San Rafael High School for the MCAL championship game against Redwood High School. The stellar defensive performance by sophomore goalkeeper Aidan Dunn was not enough to clinch the title, as the Falcons lost 1-0 on a late goal. 

“I just hope that our whole team will not have any of that [feeling like they could have done more] and we will just have pure grit and will to do anything to win,” said junior center midfielder Jake Morrison.

Archie Williams junior Chala Rosenthal jumps to celebrate with his teammates after a goal during the MCAL semi-finals against Branson on Feb. 8. (Luca Roy)

The Bleach Boys 13-8-4 overall record and their 500 plus winning percentage allowed them to clinch an NCS playoff berth. As the 7 seed they faced an uphill battle, however the Falcons prevailed. They soared into the NCS championship game in Ukiah against the 4 seed Ukiah High School Wildcats.

Hundreds of Ukiah fans packed the stands creating an atmosphere to remember for the boys. The Falcons lost the intense battle 2-0. 

“We are going to be hungry and motivated to win championships next year,” said Jake. “The captains we had this year had set a great example of what we need to do to push this culture further.”

Qualifying for NCS finals secured Archie Williams a spot in the CIF championship tournament, where they reached the championship game against King City High School in King City. The Falcons fell behind 2-0 in the first half of the game and were unable to gather traction on a muddy field for a comeback. 

Archie Williams senior Elliot Smith supports sophomore goalie Aidan Dunn during the MCAL Championship game on Feb. 10. (Luca Roy)

Although losing three championship games was disappointing, three-year varsity starter Cole is leaving the program feeling accomplished. He led the charge for the Falcons, winning his second team MVP and he was awarded MCAL first team, a team made up of the MCAL’s best players. 

“For me individually, this season was exactly what I wanted in my last year,” Cole said. “I am just grateful to have played as many games as I could with the guys and been there with them through the ups and downs.”

As the seniors graduate, the young core of the team looks to develop into leaders. The sophomore and junior class has talented players to continue the Bleach Boys legacy into next season. Aidan had three clean sheets for the Falcons, and junior striker William Finley was second on the team in scoring with seven goals.

We will play the game with humility, dignity and the understanding that we represent Archie Williams wherever we go.

— Rene Ayala

“The future of the team is extremely bright. We began the season with a more senior-heavy starting lineup, but as the season progressed many juniors and sophomores grew into starting roles and were influential in our success,” Cole said.

With the 2024-25 soccer season beginning in eight months, next year’s varsity players are already ravenous for success.They hope to pass on the same culture that led them to succession. 

“On the field, next year’s team has very lofty goals. Championships are always realistic goals to meet but more importantly, how we strive to reach these goals is essential. We will play the game with humility, dignity and the understanding that we represent Archie Williams wherever we go,” Ayala said.

Archie Williams juniors Isaac Shott and Chala Rosenthal watch Redwood High School students storm the field after snubbing a 0-1 victory over the falcons during the MCAL Championship finals on Feb. 10.
(Luca Roy)


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