Soccer: Bluedevils aim to build on 2020 successes

The question “what do you do for an encore?” applies to coach Kyle Reddy and the Fort Lupton boys soccer team. 
In the shortened spring season, the Bluedevils won the Colorado League title and lost to the top-seeded Colorado Academy in the state playoffs after a goal in the last 10 minutes of the match. 
The answer to the question will come later in the season. But Reddy thinks the Bluedevils can advance farther in the postseason this year. 
“Compared to last year? We’re way better,” said Reddy, who is starting his second year with FLHS. “The boys are really amped and ready to go. A lot of players are stepping up and filling the positions we lost. They’ve been itching the whole summer to play.” 
The squad did kick-arounds for two weeks, preseason camps, tryouts and the first week of sanctioned practice last week. The first game is Thursday, Aug. 19, at Stargate School in Thornton. 
“I like the way the upperclassmen have taken the underclassmen under their wings,” Reddy said. “In the two-mile run, sure, we had freshmen who were nervous. The upperclassmen were pushing them to do better.
And they are pushing each other. They really want to succeed. I’ve seen a 360 as far as grades and all those things behind the scenes that people don’t see. 
“They’ve got their stuff together,” he added. “Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean you get all these privileges. I want to see leaders.” 
FLHS needs to find some goal-scoring help to take the places of Julio Sixtos (13 goals) and Sam Pulido (12). Santiago Gonzales, a junior, scored 11 goals in six games last season.      
Jesus Albarran returns for his senior season. Reddy called him his “go-to guy.” Jonathan Gonzales (four goals in four recorded games) is a junior this year.
“A lot of our kids are multi-sport athletes,” Reddy said. “Compared to last year (20-some kids) to 30-something kids, I think I’m doing something right.” 
One potential trouble spot for the Bluedevils could be academics. 
“Grades, grades, grades,” Reddy said. “Student-athlete: Student comes first, then the athlete. Soccer is a privilege. Another weakness is availability. A lot of these kids work, and sometimes they can’t make practice because they work. Our strengths? Everyone you see out there.” 
Reddy likes the range of age levels of his players this season. 
“The biggest advantage to that is they get along,” Reddy said. “After practice, they hang out in the parking lot. They are always together. The team camaraderie is beneficial No one is nit-picking anyone. 


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