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Boys soccer kicks off practices under new head coach

Senior Jerry Guerra chases the ball in an attempt to prevent it from going out of bounds.

Senior Jerry Guerra chases the ball in an attempt to prevent it from going out of bounds.

Senior Jerry Guerra chases the ball in an attempt to prevent it from going out of bounds.

Alyssa Chavez, Co-editor

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After narrowly missing the playoffs during the 2015-2016 season, the varsity boys soccer team looks to continue the success they saw last season. Under the direction of new head coach Michael Swett, the team will begin competing on Dec. 27 at the Salado Scrimmage Tournament.

Swett said that the team struggled at first. Since then, he has seen a big change.

During the exhibition match, freshman Davis Lara, junior Keaton Lane and sophomores MIguel Barboza and Alvaro Torres-Luna react after Barboza slipped on the field.

“Before we even started practices, I had the guys play a small exhibition game, and we couldn’t carry the ball anywhere,” Swett said. “We were sloppy with the ball, couldn’t pass, and everybody thought they could weave through ten defenders at once and just score a goal. As we worked on passing, I could see how it was translating back to the game. I saw people passing the ball all the way around the field, so already it is working within a week’s time”

During practice on Dec. 15, the team played another exhibition game. The team was split into two, with the players in black jerseys emerging victorious.

Sophomore Salvador Morales ties the net to the post during practice. Morales was the only freshman on the 2015-2016 team.

“It shows us who is good at what position,” sophomore Salvador Morales said. “It also shows us who wants to play what. I play left wing and right back.”

On top of seeing who can play what position, Swett said he is trying to see how well they can pass the ball.

“At the very beginning of practice we work on stretches, and, of course, we work on ladder drills,” Swett said. “It’s getting cold outside, so we do need to get warmed up for our calf muscles. Doing that gets us ready to get back into passing drills. The scoring will take care of itself. We need to learn how to pass the ball. Everybody thinks they can score, but nobody knows how to pass.”

Last year, the team went 7-8 overall and 5-7 in district and fell short of making the playoffs by placing 5th in the district. Senior Jerry Guerra said that the team can continue its success from last year through practice.

“We have to get that chemistry again, especially now with a different coach and different people coming out,” Guerra said. “We have different talent, so we have to use that talent in the right way. We can’t let that talent go to waste. We have to play effective with what we’ve got.”

Guerra is one of three seniors on the team this year. Guerra said he can improve his leadership, communication skills, and ability to run longer.

“I don’t consider myself a leader unless I have to be put in that spot, which I think I am,” Guerra said. “The way I show leadership is by being humorous, being the role model, and by not being the very loud leader but the lead by action leader.”

Swett said that leadership does not have to come from the scorer all of the time.

“He just has to be the guy that everybody looks up to,” Swett said. “I have a specific guy that I’m kind of thinking of right now, but I don’t know if I should say who right now. I don’t pick on him, but I know that he’s is going to be a reason why we are good, so I’m focusing all of my attention on him. When he does something wrong in the classroom, I don’t just punish him. I punish the whole team.”

Coach Michael Swett stretches with the team at the start of practice.

Swett will be the fourth head coach in as many years. Unlike last year when the team’s coach worked at another campus during the day, Swett will be full time.

“I think that kind of hurt their chances because he wasn’t able to do everything with them in a period, as far as an athletic period,” Swett said. “Since I’m here now and can do more with them. I think that is going to help them a lot.”

Guerra said his first impression of Swett was that he was just taking the job, but since then his impression has changed.

“As we started getting into the season more I could see that he really does give it his all although he doesn’t really know it,” Guerra said. “He’s putting in the effort to help us help each other and help this program. My impression of him right now is that he is a great coach doing all he can to help lead our team to success.”

Swett said that he wants to see if the team can make it to the playoffs and get good chemistry with the players.

“We’ve got to find a way to play with each other and specifically play sound on the field at practice,” Swett said. “I think that then we can do very well in a game. The game is going to take care of itself, but we have to take care of what we can at practice.”

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Boys soccer kicks off practices under new head coach