On Sunday, November 4, 2018, The Heights Varsity Soccer Team won the Washington Catholic Atheltic Conference Championship in our first year in the league. Led by head coach Colin Gleason ’99 along with assistant coaches Gerard “Babo” Babendreier ’80 and Kyle Blackmer, their final record was 17-0-1. They outscored opponents 90-10, beating Gonzaga, Carroll, and Paul VI twice as well as DeMatha, O’Connell, Ireton, St. Mary’s Ryken, St. John Paul the Great, Don Bosco Christo Rey, McNamara, Landon, Bullis, Good Counsel, and Walter Johnson. Beyond winning the WCAC, they earned the #2 ranking in the Washington Post Top 10 and #16 in the country in the Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50.
Seven players were named to the WCAC All-Conference Teams: Daniel Diaz-Bonilla ’19 (1st Team and Player of the Year), Jordan McMillen ’20 (1st Team), Mac Malloy ’19 (1st Team), Andy Wood ’19 (2nd Team), James Canady ’21 (Honorable Mention), Rye McMillen ’19 (Honorable Mention), and Jorge Dickens ’20 (Honorable Mention).
Colin Gleason ’99 was named WCAC Coach of the Year and said “I’m just so proud of the guys, they worked so hard. Twelve seniors out there and they gave unbelievable effort all season long. They stayed humble. They stayed hungry. And all I am is just super happy and proud of them.”
Current Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente ’83, who also played and coached for The Heights said “Winning the championship in such a competitive conference, with so many fantastic teams, has been an incredible experience for our soccer team. I am especially happy at the way they won the championship and they played all season: with a beautiful soccer style, with great enthusiasm and effort, and with joy.”
The 2018 Cavaliers represents a long line of successful soccer teams at The Heights including 1995-96 (15-1-3) which won the Tri-State Championship and was ranked 10th in the Washington Post, 2001-02 (16-4-1) which won the Maryland Independent Schools Tournament and included future professional Freddy Adu, and 2004-05 (15-3) Maryland State Champions with four future Division I players. Soccer at The Heights has been an incredible tradition from the School’s earliest days with many huge wins and guys going on to play in college.
Jimmy Escobar ’76, who not only coached multiple championship teams mentioned above but also made the First Team All-Met as senior at The Heights in 1975 commented on this year’s group: “Great team; great team unity; great play; great coaches! To go undefeated and win the end of the year WCAC tournament is phenomenal. How many teams can say they accomplished this in their first full year in this tough league?”
Just how good was this team? Coach Babo ’80 had this to say:
“This year’s undefeated record by our varsity soccer team and WCAC Championship in our very first season in the league is, the greatest achievement in our program’s history, which dates back for me personally to the 1970’s, when I used to watch Jimmy Escobar play at an All-Met level and then played myself, albeit at a much lower level and only on the JV one year. Still, our triumphant glory this year was built upon the feet, legs, shoulders, heads, and hands of myriad other Heights soccer players — many fantastic strikers, midfielders, defenders and goalies with tremendous talent, tenacity and ambition — who laid the groundwork and established the legacy for this year’s marvelous team. Accordingly, as much as our championship record of 17-0-1 this year is undoubtedly a grand and a historic one for the ages, it is one that could only have arisen from the ageless history of soccer that we at The Heights have had and indeed enjoyed!”
Is this the best Heights soccer team ever? As Babo said there is a tremendous legacy of talented teams and players. We want to hear from alumni about the best team you watched or played on as a Cavalier. Email your top team or teams to firstname.lastname@example.org
This season is in the books and the future looks bright for Heights Soccer. Look out for more news when the All-Met teams come out in December. Go Cavs!