Farmington boys soccer opted to move up to Class LL, now they’re playing for title

Seventh-seeded Farmington celebrates its 1-0 win over sixth-seeded Staples Wednesday in the CIAC Class LL semifinals at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.

Seventh-seeded Farmington celebrates its 1-0 win over sixth-seeded Staples Wednesday in the CIAC Class LL semifinals at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.

Scott Ericson / Hearst Connecticut Media

Last offseason, the Farmington boys soccer team took a vote.

By size, Farmington is a CIAC Class L school, but the players voted and decided they wanted to play up in Class LL, offering themselves the toughest challenge they could find.

They knew it would not be easy with the best teams from the CCC, SCC and FCIAC all waiting along the road to the state championships at Dillon Stadium.

“This is what the players said, they said they wanted to prove themselves against the biggest and the best teams,” Farmington coach Nick Boorman said. “They wanted to be the state champion at the end of the year. Not taking anything away from the other classes, there are really good teams in every class. These are the type of teams we want to play against. The best in the state.”

First, Farmington had to navigate a revamped CCC schedule which put the top teams against each other more than in previous seasons.

That meant two games against preseason No. 1 Hall, two against perennial power and fierce rival Glastonbury, a game against Class L finalist Wethersfield and games versus Simsbury, South Windsor and Newington.

And for the one out-of-conference game, Farmington scheduled Newtown from the SWC.

That schedule, which included a loss to Newington and two losses to Hall, toughened the shell on the team in preparation for the Class LL Tournament.

“We know we played a hard schedule this year,” senior captain Ben Cosentino said. “I was talking to coach about it on the bus ride here. He likes it and we do too. It’s great. We played the best teams. We played Hall twice, we lost both of those games but we came in and were able to beat them in the state tournament. Those two losses gave us the little extra to beat them last round.”

Farmington beat No. 2 seeded Hall on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, before facing No. 6 Staples out of the FCIAC in a hard-fought semifinal game.

Prior to that, Farmington had beaten CCC opponent Southington in the first round and Warde (10-3-4) from the FCIAC in the second round.

“We wanted to play teams like this, Staples, Hall, Warde, Southington,” Boorman said. “Those are all top teams and those are the teams our players wanted to challenge themselves against.”

Farmington will be playing for in its 19th CIAC title game when it faces No. 13 Cheshire Saturday at Dillon Stadium at 6:30 p.m.

Just as a reminder of how good Class LL was this year, to reach the final, Cheshire (12-4-2) had to beat three teams (Greenwich, Norwalk and Xavier) who combined for only three losses this season.

Now, the Rams face a Farmington team that is 16-3-1.

Farmington has won 12 state championships, with the last coming in 2016 in Class LL.

Among Farmington’s titles, three have been in Class LL, four in Class L and five in Class M.

“We want to prove we are the best team in the state and there is no other way to do that than in Class LL,” Cosentino said. “We didn’t think we belonged in Class L, we think we can play any team, and we have proven it and now we have one more game where we have to prove it. It’s been a great year and we love the challenge of Class LL. There is nothing like it in terms of the quality of the competition you face every game. It’s the best soccer around.”

The history of the program is not hidden from the players, who each wear a jacket with a star for every state title won.

“We have so many alumni. Once you are part of the Farmington soccer family, you are always with us, forever,” Boorman said. “We had so many alumni at the game (Wednesday), so many former players reaching out to us during the tournament. This truly is a soccer family and these guys are part of it. The sacrifice they put in, the perseverance they have shown and the team unity they show is incredible.”

The players embrace the history and want to add their own star to the jackets.

“We know it has been a few years since Farmington won a title. We all know the history growing up in town. It’s a great soccer town, that’s what its known for,” Cosentino said. “You hear it all the time growing up playing soccer in Farmington. You see the former players and they all tell you. It’s awesome playing for this town. We want to continue that legacy.”; @EricsonSports