Inaugural team works on basics
Eudora High School soccer coach Erik Peltzman discovered that the new team will have an even better reason to play well this season.
Before, the 20-member co-ed team was going to play for enjoyment and pride in their inaugural season, but now the team is elated with the news that they are eligible for the state tournament.
"It puts a whole new perspective on it," assistant coach Jaclyn Naster said. "We need people out there to know we (Eudora) are a presence in the soccer community. We expect to build it into a quality soccer program."
Naster said she noticed a difference in the player's attitudes when the first practice began Monday afternoon.
"Kids are working 100 percent harder," Naster said. "Kids who were lagging behind in camp are realizing how important it is."
Peltzman and Naster are emphasizing the fundamentals of soccer and several drills before the players start to practice game situations. The Cardinals first game in Eudora High School history is Sept. 12 at Perry-Lecompton against another co-ed team.
"My plan is to work on basics, passing and trapping, and the fundamentals of soccer before we take it to the next level," Naster said.
Naster works with the group on individual fundamentals of the game while Peltzman organizes team-wide drills.
Naster, who coached about half of the Cardinals players on a club team for the past couple of years, said the team's shortage of regular season games may actually be a good thing. She hopes the team can use its time on the practice field to play extraordinarily well during games. She hopes to schedule some "friendly" matches with teams in the Kansas City area.
As of Tuesday, the coaches hadn't selected positions for the players yet, but Naster has a pretty good idea of what the former club team players are capable of. She said a lot of the girls are playing organized soccer for the first time but were picking things up quickly.
Goaltenders Mark Shutt and William Steel will compete for varsity playing time. Naster coached Shutt on the club team and said he improved vastly throughout the past two years. Steel has also made strides in his game, said Naster.
Peltzman said the squad has added a few more games to the schedule, including the Sept. 12 game against Perry-Lecompton, and games Oct. 7 and 15th games. He expects to have a few more players on the roster after they complete the required paperwork to practice with the team.
Peltzman said the team's strength was speed, unity, and the fact that 10 or 11 of them played together on the club team.
He said some of the varsity team's leaders could be William Bock, Andy Coffman, Tyler Hartpence, Tighe Van Anne, Ian Mater, and Tina Clark.
"She shows the other girls what they're capable of," Peltzman said of Clark.
Some of the players with lesser experience will get the chance to see action in several of the Cardinals junior varsity games this season.