Hillcrest Huskies Boys’ Soccer: A Team on the Rise
Apr 07, 2016 02:39PM
● By Sarah Almond
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Midvale - After a grueling two-day tryout process in which 83 boys attended, 48 players were named members of the Hillcrest High School soccer team on March 3. With official practices beginning March 4 and their first preseason game falling just four days later, the Huskies wasted no time preparing for the season.
This is the first season Hillcrest soccer has had enough players to make up three teams: sophomore, JV and varsity. Despite having a larger team, the team’s chemistry is better than it has been in years past.
“I feel like team chemistry is great this year,” sophomore Ramon Delatorre said. “We have a lot of returning players from last year and I think that helps.”
Though the team has a handful of returning players, they also have a substantial amount of underclassmen and inexperienced rookies joining this year too.
“We have a lot of young talent that we’re trying to develop,” senior Nate Walker said. “We’ve got about five or six underclassmen that will play a big varsity role. So we’re pretty excited for developing the younger players.”
With the right amount of training and practice, the group expects their talent to take them far within their region.
“This is not just a rebuilding year,” Walker said. “We’ll hopefully make a run at the state tournament.”
The team is rebuilding structurally after graduating several key seniors from last year’s varsity group.
“We lost a lot of seniors,” Walker said. “We had a good core group of guys, but we just weren’t as much of a team as we would like to have been. There was a lot of things that were happening off the field that were affecting our team.”
Unfortunately for the players last year, this off-field drama translated into some serious issues on the field, like players fighting and not supporting each other like true teammates. This year, however, that has all changed.
“We’re much more of a team this year,” Walker said. “We have much more of a cohesive group, and I think leadership has a lot to do with that. There are leadership roles that the players have been put in that have improved a lot, like they are more respectful to the coaches, they agree with them more and that translates to the younger players being more respectful as well.”
With the 2016 soccer season being the last of their high school career, Walker and other senior players on the Huskies’ team are looking to make this the best year yet.
“We’re hoping to play our best and have a really great season,” Walker said. “But we’re also hoping to help these younger boys who have a couple years left make this program the best it can be.”
Though Walker believes positive senior leadership has influenced this year’s team, he credits the younger players for the group’s improved sense of sportsmanship.
“I have personal goals and I know other guys do too, but more than anything we are going to put the team first,” Walker said. “If we need to take a different role this year, then that’s what we’ll do, and I think that comes from the younger players that we have. They aren’t so much interested in their personal stats as they are in bettering the team.”
The coaches recently enforced a rule insisting the players eat lunch with each other during school. This requirement was well received by members of the team.
“It’s been really nice to get to know the other boys that might be new to the team or might be a little quieter than others,” Walker said.
Walker is confident that becoming closer as friends will help the players become better teammates on the field. With more than half the season remaining, being able to trust one another is crucial if the Huskies hope to make it to the state tournament beginning May 18.
“We’ve really bought into the system, we’ve bought into our coach’s program and we’re hoping that will translate into a better season and, hopefully, a shot at the tournament,” Walker said.
The Huskies play their last home game on May 6 against Olympus High School at 3:30 p.m.