Boys' soccer Bears earn best billing

Posted: Thursday, July 08, 2010

And the accolades keep rolling in for the 2010 Juneau-Douglas boys' soccer team.

The Crimson Bears, Alaska's reigning 4A state champions who finished 22-1-4, were ranked No. 17 in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, which includes the states that play soccer in the spring (Georgia, Virginia, Nebraska, Washington, Iowa, South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Alaska). It is the highest such ranking JDHS has ever achieved.

"It's pretty cool. It's exciting and it's great for the kids," coach Gary Lehnhart said. "I don't think there's any question that coming on the heels of the 2008 undefeated season, that probably helped push us; and the Spokane wins helped a lot."

JDHS went 3-0-1 against teams from Spokane, Wash., to kick off its season against a quality set of opponents.

Lehnhart said the team has been invited to a couple of national tournaments next spring, one in South Carolina and one in Georgia, but it's unclear if the Crimson Bears will be able to travel due to budget restraints. But optimism - even for a team that has played in nine of 11 state championship games - is high for the 2011 Bears.

"Next year's team is probably going to be the best that we've ever had," Lehnhart said.

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