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The City Journals

Cottonwood soccer team struggles in region play, misses out on state

Jun 23, 2017 12:00PM ● By Brian Shaw

The Cottonwood boys soccer team. (Dominic Militello/Cottonwood boys soccer)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

Under a new head coach in Dominic Militello, hopes were high for the Cottonwood Colts boys soccer team to return to their past glory days. For Militello this isn’t the first time he’s led the Colts. The Cottonwood girls won three region games under his leadership last fall but missed the state playoffs. 

Like the girls, success on the boys side won’t happen right away. Because while the Colts boys soccer team battled hard against teams in their region; they just came up a bit short at the end, according to Militello.  

“The team fought hard all season and played really well, but we didn’t accomplish wins and losses wise what we wanted, and so we’ll look toward reaching one of our goals next year,” said Militello. 

Two wins over Taylorsville during region play weren’t enough to overcome the other 10 losses in the league for Cottonwood, who following a 2-1 start in preseason looked early on like they might be a contender. 

But a senior laden bunch struggled putting goals in the net all year long according to Militello. In all, the Colts scored just two goals in the most critical month—the one in which they still had a chance to make the state tournament as one of four region teams—May.  

The good news is that the Colts leading scorer, junior Dejen Abreha, returns next season along with a slew of sophomores and juniors who got valuable minutes when the seniors struggled to find the net.  

“We had a very talented senior group that just didn’t get the results they wanted, and so next year we look for the current junior group to take the program to the next level,” added Militello, who in mid-season said he had to let two talented upperclassmen go—due to violations of team rules. 

Abreha’s six goals led the Colts in scoring, said Militello, who said all season he preached the importance of staying together as a team. Next year he added that they’ll see if this season of taking lumps in a tough region was enough to propel the Colts forward into Class 5A state playoff contention.  

“This year not really knowing more about the group and the players, I came in not knowing the players,” said Militello. “I always want to shoot for a state championship, you know, but our secondary goal is to build a championship culture where guys are held accountable for showing up to practices and making sure they are doing what they need academically, while participating in fundraising and community service projects.” 

“A lot of the seniors came into this season without that mindset. But, as the season went on they started to establish one. It doesn’t guarantee success in wins and losses, but it sets the tone for the young kids coming up,” he said. 

With Alta, Corner Canyon and Timpview joining the region mix next year for boys as well as girls—Copper Hills, West Jordan and Taylorsville are all moving out of the region into the new Class 6A—it should give the Colts an opportunity to play schools with similar enrollments. 

“It was tough to compete with the schools that have so many kids to choose from this year. That said, we want to play the best and we got that opportunity,” added Militello. “We still want to create that expectation of getting wins in the new region, but we want to be better each and every day, too, and that’s something we went over at the initial parents and players meeting.”