The Thunder Mountain High School boy’s soccer team is still on the youngish side, age wise.
Athletically however, the Falcons are ready to soar into their third season and become a competitive force on the pitch.
Coming off a two-win season, both over Sitka, the Falcons have lost little and gained a lot. They hope to show that improvement this weekend at Ketchikan against the Kings who pulled out a series of two-point victories of the Falcons last season.
“We had no seniors last year,” TMHS coach Sam Greely said. “And just three this year.”
Coltin Lanz, Alex Shaw and CJ Stauff are the athletic upper classmen.
Sophomore Ben Jahn (forward, midfielder) and Junior Jasper Soriano (goalie) are expected to be impact players this season.
“Jasper will be pivotal,” Greely said. “Whether for good or for bad he is going to make the team a lot better.”
A strong freshman group will be aiding the TMHS side as well.
“Instead of being athletes, which they always have been, our returners are becoming soccer players,” Greely said. “So it is making my job easier. Things are looking up. We are always looking for better results but I think this year is going to be a good year.”
The Falcons run a basic 4-4-2 team oriented formation. Four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards.
“We will try and make space as a team and defend as a team,” Greely said. “Hopefully that will save energy that we will use in individual efforts.”
While early yet, junior Stephen Ringle is a team captain playing in the back and Jahn plays the midfield and is another captain.
Returner Brandon Monges has developed into being the catalyst at forward. Freshman Zack Dindinger has been showing early season promise and will shuttle between midfield and forward and frosh tactical midfielder Ryan Hoover is expected to make a strong contribution.
“It is nice to have defenders that can fill their responsibilities but also try to do that little bit extra,” Greely said. “And if we are attacking we want that defensive line to close that gap in between so the midfielders have the option to go backwards. Just putting in that extra work with body position and helping out. It all starts in the midfield, if we can control the middle with our left and right movements and horizontal play, our vertical play from the forwards and defense in back will flow.”
This is Greely’s first head coaching position as he was an assistant last year. His back ground speaks volumes however as he graduated from JDHS in 2008 with a state championship, some club titles with the Juneau Rip Tide, and upper level experience at Peninsula College.
“I see a tremendous amount of athletes on this Thunder Mountain team,” Greely said. “Basically studs that don’t necessarily know the game but are very athletic. I don’t need to teach them to be athletes, I need to teach them the game and take advantage of their athleticism.”