AMHS Men’s Soccer Team


The Academic Magnet Men’s soccer team has a deep-rooted winning history. The program’s success can be linked to its first state title in 2012. Since then Magnet has picked up four more state titles leaving the program with 5 total. Magnet’s success has stemmed from a couple of factors. Most notably, the program’s head coach Jason Hamil has been the boy’s head coach since 2004. In his almost 20 years as head coach, he has mastered what it takes to create a winning team and system and hopes to repeat past success this year. Another factor a winning program requires is dedicated student-athletes. The Magnet soccer team spends time during the offseason working together in order to improve chemistry for the high school season. Magnet also has multiple players on the same club team allowing individual groups to also build chemistry. Academic Magnet highschool is renowned for its academic success which can often overshadow the school’s on-field success. While the school continually ranks as one of the top public high schools in the country, it is important to remember just how good some of the sports can be as well. On the topic of academic dominance, last season the men’s soccer team was acknowledged by the US Coaches Association for having the highest average GPA of any high school soccer team in the nation. This is a massive honor for the entire team and definitely speaks to the hard work and dedication it takes in order to achieve such a great accomplishment and also great play on the field. And Although this is a huge honor and the boys hope to repeat the feat, nothing is more important than a state championship next season.

Upcoming Season
With a large senior class consisting of fourteen varsity players this season the boy’s team has one of the strongest sides that it has had in recent years. This past year Magnet also got moved down to the AA division along with rivals Oceanside and Bishop England. Normally moving down a division you would expect the competition level to decrease. In this case, the opposite is true, because both crosstown rivals also moved down AA the region will be much more difficult than last year. Hopefully, this year Magnet will be able to make a deep run in the playoffs and potentially play for a sixth state title. Last year the team made it to the second round of AAA playoffs losing 2-1 against Brookland Cayce after a controversial penalty call. Cayce went on to make it to the state finals but lost to Daniel in penalties. Moving down to the AA division means that there are not a lot of regular season games to play since there are only four other teams in the division, but fortunately, Magnet has managed to schedule a large number of scrimmages and friendlies as well as tournaments. The toughest challenges that the team expects to face are against Bishop England and Oceanside. Every year these teams offer very stiff competition, but we are confident that this year we have the ability to beat these teams. As for season-long aspirations, the team is looking to make a deep run in state playoffs and hopefully make it to a state final.

New Additions

The Magnet soccer teams are probably the largest and winningest teams at our school and each year it seems like more and more players are trying out to play soccer. Over the past four years, the program has increased in size, especially this year with the addition of SOA athletes. After the passing of a new state budget proviso that allowed School of the Arts students to play sports for Academic Magnet, the Magnet soccer program saw a large increase in the number of players trying out for a varsity or junior varsity spot. Several SOA players have been added to the rosters including an SOA freshman who made varsity. This influx of players will hopefully propel the program forward, and increase the strength of the Magnet teams.


The Magnet men’s team’s most recent state championship was won in 2018 against St. Joseph’s. The game remained tied after overtime, meaning the championship had to be decided by penalty kicks. Sophomore goalie, Benji Vazquez, stepped up and saved the first penalty of the shootout. Magnet’s Jackson Bracy then scored his penalty making the score 1-0 after the first round of penalties. St. Joseph’s next player scored his penalty and Dylan Odell missed his penalty wide, evening the score. Vazquez batted away St. Joseph’s third penalty and the Raptors went up 2-1 after Liam Kelly converted his penalty. The next two kickers scored both of their penalties making the score 3-2. Magnet then missed their next penalty and St. Joseph’s Nathan Meglic scored his penalty tying the score once again. On the next round of penalties, Vazquez once again was able to make a stop registering his third save of the shootout. This set up Brian Bracy for the game-winning shot which he scored, winning the championship for Magnet. “Hat’s off to St. Joe’s because they played great,” said Raptors coach Jason Hamil, who has won five titles in the last seven years. “We kept going at them repeatedly and they had an answer for everything we did. Defensively, they were so organized. It’s a tough way to lose a game but hats off to my kids. Hat’s off to Benji Vazquez. What a battle it was. It’s such a great feeling. I am so proud of my kids.” This was just one of the five total state championships that Magnet has won over the years.

On Field Tactics

In the past, the team has always played a 4-3-3 formation on the field. The 4 represents the four players in the backline, a right back, a left back, and two center backs. Ahead of these four are three center mids. Usually one of the center mids plays more defensively and the other two play higher up on the field in a more attacking role. The final piece of the formation is the front 3 which includes two wingers and a forward. The wingers spread the width of the field by staying wide while the forward is supposed to work off the midfielders by dropping deep or getting in behind the defenders using their pace. This is one of the most common formations in soccer and it’s also what you are most likely to see when facing other high schools. This year the coaches are looking at trying a different formation in order to get more players in the final third. On paper, it looks like a 4-1-2-1-2. Same as before the 4 represents the four players in the back line. The 1 ahead of the 4 is the center defensive mid. The next 2 are the wide center mids. They play in between the traditional position of pivot 8s and wingers. The last 1 is the attacking center mid. The offense should theoretically run through this player so they need to be technical and read the game well. The final two up front are the forwards. Having two forwards allows them to play off of each other as well as overlap their runs behind. Although a decision has not yet been made as to which formation the team is most likely going to play this season, many favor the traditional 4-3-3 due to experience playing it.

James Island Scrimmage
The first game of the season against 4A opponents James Island is a customary scrimmage that is played pretty much every year. Magnet got off to a rocky start, but this was expected as a lot of players were shaking off the rust from not playing in a few months. The boys were able to scrape together a few chances, but none of which resulted in any goals. On a more positive note, Magnet’s defense proved to be strong, limiting James Island to virtually no chances to score. However, this meant that the game ended in a boring 0-0 draw.

Stall Scrimmage

On February 14th, the men’s soccer team had their second scrimmage of the season against Stall High School. The game was played in the Charleston County District 4 stadium, a massive turf field that was recently constructed for use by local high schools. Stall claims this stadium as their home field and most magnet players enjoy being able to play on it. Academic Magnet had a fantastic first half playing quality free-flowing soccer that led to several chances to score. Our very own Talon writer, Turner Orvin, opened up the scoring with a volley from the edge of the eighteen. This was followed by senior Kofi Ayiku who received a through-ball, dribbled around the keeper, and expertly slotted the ball in the bottom corner. After going up 2-0 in the first half, Stall was able to claw one back in the second half. However, the game was put to bed after a brilliant long-distance strike from sophomore Aiden Ruggiero. The game ended with a 3-1 victory for the boys. The team will face Stall again in two weeks for the opening regular season game.

Charleston Soccer Shootout
This coming weekend the boy’s team will be hosting their yearly tournament, the Charleston Soccer Shootout. The Shootout is a well-respected tournament with teams coming in from all over South Carolina to play. This year there is a total of 16 teams split into two divisions, green and black. The black division includes the larger schools such as 5A rock hill and 4A Lucy Beckham. This should mean good competition for all teams and a good way to get the season started. All 8 teams play Friday. The games are two 40-minute halves and excluding the championship go straight to penalties if tied. On Saturday, the winners of the first 4 games play each other and the losers of the first 4 games play each other. From here the two winners of the previous to winner games play each other on Sunday in the championship. At the end of the day, the tournament’s main goal is to give teams opportunities to play in a competitive competition before regional play officially starts.

Notable Games
On Thursday, March 9th Magnet plays Oceanside at home, which is one of the most important games of the regular season. Then two weeks later on March 21st Magnet will play Bishop England who are considered by many to be Magnet’s main rival school. Another important game is senior night against Pinewood Prep on April 20th.

Overall, the Magnet boys are excited about the upcoming season and we have high aspirations for the team this year. With a strong core of fourteen senior players, the team definitely has the capabilities to compete with any school on the field. We hope to build support for the Magnet soccer teams this year, and we would appreciate students and staff attending as many home games as possible.