Father-son, Valencia-Saugus boys soccer matchup ends in 2-2 draw

Valencia High boys soccer head coach Ken Claborn yells from the sidelines as his team plays against Saugus High, for whom his son plays, at Saugus on Tuesday, 040621. Dan Watson/The Signal

By Ryan Menzie 
For The Signal 

It isn’t too often when a son and father go against each other in a battle of high school rivalries. However, for the Claborn family, it happened during the first game of the season. 

In a dramatic game that went down to the wire, the bragging rights were brought home by neither father nor son, as the Saugus and Valencia soccer teams battled to a 2-2 tie on Tuesday at Saugus. 

Valencia head coach Ken Claborn faced off against junior son, Connor Claborn, in a battle of the household. 

“We are very familiar with how we need to play,” said Ken in a post-game interview. “But knowing that Saugus was a good opponent, we were ready to go.” 

Saugus High midfielder Connor Claborn (23) moves the ball against the Valencia High team coached by his father, Ken Claborn, at Saugus High on Tuesday, 040621. Dan Watson/The Signal

Valencia commanded the first half with great defense as well as goals in the 19th minute by Azael Jovel and the 30th minute by Guillermo Martinez. 

The Centurions seemed to have their backs to the wall, but coming straight out of halftime, Saugus answered back with a score by David Chambers just 19 seconds into the second half to cut the deficit down to one. 

As the game wore on, players and coaches started getting more feisty, begging for calls and pleading with the referees to see what they were seeing. The game got chippy. 

Connor Claborn came down with a calf injury in the second half, but was able to walk off the field. It was later found out it was just a cramp. 

The game-tying play started when Rieghly Burke of Saugus was fouled close enough to Valencia’s goal to earn a free kick. Burke scored on the free kick at the 37-minute mark to tie the game 2-2. 

The hard-fought game pitting father versus son represented the third time they have faced off against each other. 

“It’s a good competitive spirit for us,” said Connor in a post-game interview. “It’s just a good rivalry. This was also the most competitive matchup we’ve had because it is Valencia versus Saugus, so it is always fun.” 

When asked about coaching against his son, Ken said, “He’s a really good player and it’s fun to watch him play. (It involves) understanding what his strengths are and managing your game plan to some extent to make sure we’re performing at our best and hoping that he’s not performing at his best against us.” 

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