Pirates soccer team has potential

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The season is off to a slow start for the Englewood High School boys soccer team as only about a dozen players were on hand Aug. 13 for the second day of official practice.

“We have a lot of potential with a number of good returning players, but we face challenges because, so far, so few kids are reporting to practices for this year’s team,” Pirates coach Chris Kavinsky said. “I hope more kids will hear about the team and join us because, unless more kids sign up, we won’t have a junior varsity team.”

He said not having a junior varsity team hurts the Pirates boys soccer program because there isn’t a good way to help young players develop and improve their soccer skills. However, he said he is optimistic and feels more kids will join the team in the next week or so, which will enable Englewood to also schedule matches for a JV team.

“I think all the fall teams are experiencing low turnouts as practice starts this year,” Kavinsky said. “I believe the low turnout is due at least in part to the fact we still have about three weeks until school starts, so there are families on vacation, kids are still working and a lot of freshmen don’t know about the sports programs.”

The coach said the good thing is the team has about three weeks of practice to get ready for the season opener Sept. 4 on the road against Sheridan. The Pirates’ first home game is Sept. 10 against Fort Lupton.

Kavinsky said he generally had good turnouts for the voluntary once-a-week practices he had during the summer. He said the practices so far have been spirited, and the goal is build off what was accomplished in those sessions to help players improve their individual skills and to help the Pirates get better as a soccer team.

The coach said the defense will be anchored by returning lettermen Connor Sherer and Austin Trail, and the team will be looking for players to replace graduated seniors like Cody Mikulecky, to fill vacancies in the midfield and on the striker line. The Pirates’ starting goalie, Josh Kavinsky, also graduated in May, so the coach will be looking for a player to take charge in the net.

“We do have a number of lettermen we expect to be back this season who will be contenders for starting spots on the roster, and we have a couple of talented freshmen who might help us this season,” Kavinsky said. “As we get guys back, we’ll work on our system and just try to figure out a starting lineup for our team.”

Trail is one of the returning lettermen the coach is calling on to be a team leader this season.

“I am glad it is soccer season because soccer is one of my favorite sports,” Trail said during the Aug 14 practice. “We don’t have a lot of kids out for the team yet, but I think our team is still looking pretty good.”

He said the Pirates will be young and will have a lot of speed this season. Trail said it also helps that the team has a ton of time to practice and improve soccer skills before the season starts.

Trail said he feels he is a better soccer player now than he was at the end of last season.

“I believe I am a smarter soccer player because of the varsity experience I have had with the Pirates,” he said. “I also feel, even though we struggled a bit last year, I learned a lot about the importance of teamwork. I also feel the experience helped me improve my soccer skills.”

He is a defender and said that is where he likes to play, but added he’ll play any position the coach wants him to play.

“My personal goals are to be a good leader and help our team get better every time we take the field,” he said.