NEW PARIS — The National Trail boys soccer team is constantly learning and improving according to head coach Branden Chaney, who said his team needs to continue to work on and improve its understanding of the game of soccer for the upcoming season.
The growing pains can be eased knowing leading goal scorer from a year ago, Jordan Clark, returns to help stabilize the offense for the Blazer offense.
He will be joined by seniors, CJ Wing, Tyler Browning, Nick Cochran, and Jon Paul Forster, who Chaney said, despite losing a lot of games, has been a really fun group to coach.
Chaney believes his team has developed enough over the past year the program should be able to pick a win or two, something they were unable to do last year.
“We are really working hard to get this program a win, last we season we did not have a win and the boys are really working hard to change that this year,” he said.
Chaney has three home games circled as important for the program: Twin Valley South on Sept. 24, Preble Shawnee on Sept. 28 and Tri-County North on Oct 8.
Chaney said last year his team played those three teams closely and believes his team is ready to push the other county programs for victories. Chaney said not only do they provide a higher chance of winning, but local rivalries are always important for his players and school.
The hard work and determination has led to Chaney considering pre-service as his team’s biggest strength, saying no matter the score or who the match-up is with, his team is always playing hard.
“This team does not give up. They are willing to knock the dirt off their jerseys and keep battling until the whistle blows,” said Chaney.
While his players won’t give up, Chaney said he would like to see his players be more aggressive in their pursuit of loose balls.
“We really need to work on beating the other team to the ball. I like my team to play aggressive by beating the other team to loose balls,” he said.
The Blazers start their season off by playing at home against Centerville (Indiana) on Monday, Aug. 24 at 7:15 p.m., and Thursday, Aug 27, versus Seton at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Austin Schmidt