Senior class hopes to give program big-time kick
Three coaches in four years is never a good thing, new Eudora soccer coach Gunar Harmon said. But it's not all bad, either.
As the Cardinals prepare for a new season with yet another new coach, Harmon said his team of experienced seniors and eager underclassmen have what it takes to record the program's best season.
"For the senior class, I will be the third coach in their time," Harmon said. "I've taken over programs that have had multiple coaches. Multiple coaches aren't such a bad thing. What you lose in continuity, you gain in perspective from being taught different things."
The Cardinals certainly have accrued plenty of perspective. It's been a rough road since the program's inception five seasons ago, but the team has made progress -- something it'd love to capitalize on in 2007.
Last year wasn't a good year by most standards, but Eudora's 3-13-2 record was the team's best. A late-season win against Kansas Highway 10 rival De Soto went a long way toward showing that the team was on the right path as well.
The stage may be set for another program-best season thanks to the healthy senior class. The Cardinals likely have the most experienced squads since the program began six years ago,
The team will likely have around 14 seniors on the squad this year. Leading the way will be senior twins Connor and Logan Hartpence and senior goalkeeper Anthony Barta.
"We've got a lot of kids that are a little raw in the talent department, but I think that everybody is excited about that," Harmon said. "There is just a general vibe about it and it works to our advantage."
The biggest difference for the team, though, will be the continuous coaching changes. However, Harmon isn't new to the game of soccer.
"My approach is probably radically different in the fact that I've been playing the game for 25 years and have been coaching for 10 years," he said. "I learned in Germany where the approach is you show up to play soccer every day after school.
"So much of soccer here is instructional. You are having to increase the understanding of the game and the strategies and most importantly the culture around the game. There is very little culture around soccer as a sport in this country."
As for last season, the Cardinals began the season with a pair of wins before injuries began to plague the team and the losses followed. However, Eudora did rebound with the huge win over De Soto to end the season on a high note.
Although there may be some expectations for this year's team, Harmon feels as though the seniors will be motivated to win because it is likely their final year in a soccer uniform.
"To expect a lot is one thing, but to basically put it out there, it's their senior year," Harmon said. "It's win now."
Despite having to take over a program that has struggled to win since it began, Harmon admits he is looking forward to the new season and the possibilities it brings.
"That's the key to coaching -- taking the level of experience of your team and trying to enhance it to a point where they feel comfortable against teams that are highly organized and play all year around," Harmon said. "That's the challenge of being a coach, but I am looking forward to the season. I think things will go well."
The Cardinals will open the season Tuesday as they play Gardner Edgerton. Eudora will then welcome De Soto on Sept. 4.