Over the course of the last seven seasons, Kettering
Fairmont has established a resume few can match in Southwest Ohio. The
Firebirds have played in five of the last seven Division I district finals,
including four straight, and have three championships. Last season they made
their first appearance in the state semifinals before bowing out to nationally
ranked Fairfield, 1-0. The Firebirds beat then-unbeaten and nationally ranked
Gahanna 4-1 in the regional semis.
Don’t expect Fairmont to sneak up on anyone this season, but
expect them to surprise a few people regardless.
Despite losing the school’s all-time leading scorer and the
GWOC player of the year in Lamar Skeeter, who broke Chicago Fire forward Chris
Rolfe’s career mark, Fairmont returns six of 11 starters.
“We have some talent this year that will not surprise our
fans, but could be a revelation to the soccer community,” head coach John
Boucuvalas said. “For all the attention given to our frontrunners last season,
we will feature two dynamic, skilled, big and athletic players in Jon Burt and
Brad Bamberger this year. These two should get plenty of interest at the next
level by year’s end.”
Burt, a 6-foot-3 senior defender, was second team GWOC last
season and according to Boucuvalas is “a premier athlete with excellent feet.”
Bamberger, a 6-2 junior midfielder, started both varsity
soccer and basketball last year.
Other key returnees include senior strikers Anthony D’Amico
(second team GWOC) and Taylor Rex (honorable mention GWOC). D’Amico enters this
season – his third as a starter – with 27 career goals. Rex, a four-year
starter, has 15 career assists. Both will serve as team captains.
Last season Fairmont struggled out of the gate, going 4-4 in
its first eight games. After that the Firebirds got hot, going 12-2-2 the rest
of the way with one-goal losses to Beavercreek and Fairfield.
Expect Fairmont to run its streak of winning seasons to nine
Said Boucuvalas: “The core of the team is intact.”