Thursday, March 6, 2014
You’d be challenged to find any soccer team that has more enthusiasm and spirit than the North Augusta boys soccer team.
The mixture of talent, according to head coach Ryan Rood, includes players who have played soccer for a while, some who have never tried out before and about two or three who have never played soccer before. However, he believes that the team is “very athletic” and that he and his staff can teach skill.
“We have really good team chemistry,” Rood said. “With our practicing and our hard scrimmaging I think it will catch up to our skill level. I think we will be a solid squad on the field.”
The team is coming off a 4-9 season, and Rood hopes in every game this year that his squad will have a good showing.
“We want to improve in every single game,” he said. “Wins and losses; those come and go. If they can walk off the field and know they played better than the game or practice before; that’s what I want to achieve. I want to achieve team unity and I want everyone to be cohesive when they play. I want them to play well and to play together. Soccer is an 11-man sport, and I want to make sure we all are playing and all are on top of our game.”
Early on the team will lean on its defensive players, led by Brock Vaughn, a senior. The team also has a freshman sensation, Lorenzo Kromer, who the coaching squad is expecting big things from in the coming years. Roberto Vital, a sophomore, has “great placement of the ball” according to Rood and “excellent field awareness.”
“We also have some great utility players with Blake (Busby) and Josh (Burgin),” Rood said. “They will be key to our offense and kind of lead our attack. Our keepers are really unique; Tyler Henry and Austin Ferguson. This is Austin’s first year, but both of them have had very good showings. We’ve made some mental mistakes, but I think both of them are going to have games where they really surprise you with what they do, and with as little time as they have had on the field.”
Burgin said he is hoping this year’s squad has a chance at making the playoffs. It would be the second time the senior, who has been on varsity all four years, has been to the playoffs.
“I don’t know about going for high seeds, but I think we have a chance to make a run,” he said. “I’m just focused on passing more; we’re one of the rougher teams. We have physical people, who aren’t the best skill-wise, but we play our game.”
Rood said Burgin is a second year captain, and was the only junior captain on last year’s team.
“You can put him almost anywhere and he will excel at it,” Rood said. “He’s extremely fast and extremely physical. He knows exactly where he’s at on the field and where it needs to be. He’s a great team leader and always encourages other players around him. Honestly I haven’t heard a single complaint from another player about Josh. He’s solid as a rock and he shows you what needs to be done. I hope people take after him.”
The team participated in a preseason tournament at Ridge View over the weekend and will scrimmage with Spring Valley in a game scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against Lakeside, at home. They will open the year at Evans on March 12 at 7 p.m. and play at home against Midland Valley and Grovetown on March 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013.