ARGOS – With the loss of a very talented senior class Argos soccer head coach Todd Vanderweele might have some concerns for the coming campaign but a solid core of talented returners have him breathing a little easier.
“This is probably one of the deepest teams that I've had in the whole time that I've been at Argos,” he said. “If we wanted to I think that we could go 18 to 20 deep and not lose a lot. The season seems short but guys get dinged up and to have guys you can put out there to let them recuperate it makes a big difference."
“We lost a lot of experience but we have a strong senior class,” said Vanderweele. “Any team that Owen Nifong is involved with is going to be in a good spot and of course Chino (Roque) and Sam Manikowski, but I also feel like we have a really solid group of core players in that junior class and some really good guys developing in the sophomore class that are going to help us as well.”
In any sport “speed kills” and this year's Dragon squad appears to have a lot of it.
“We going to be a little bit smaller but I think we are going to be quicker,” said Vanderweele. “If you can find those quick guys in any sport and teach them fundamentals you are going to have players that can do a lot of good things.”
“Gabe Stone has matured, Cameron Markley has grown quite a bit, Colton Markley has quickness that people have never seen,” said the coach. “He won't be in goal this year, and if you think he's quick between the pipes, his movement has been limited by the size of the goal. Put him on the field you'll get a little bit more appreciation of how quick he really is.”
The change at goal was already underway, but sped along with Colton suffering an injury early in preseason. He will return but Kayden Brady, who saw significant time as a freshman is already lost for the season.
Replacing some components in the back line is a focus as well as tuning what could be a high powered attack.
“We have tried to get different guys in the back who can play together the way we want to and we're getting a little bit better there,” said Vanderweele. “So far as scoring the pieces are there it's just getting everybody to learn their roles and know each other.”
“Chino is dangerous at the nose of the goal and he also likes to facilitate goals,” he said. “We'd like to get Gabe Stone involved and Owen (Nifong) more in the middle of the field than the back which will change some things for us.”
“We have to have the confidence to believe we can play with anybody and get that consistency to play well every night,” said Vanderweele. “This crew is going to be one that can deal with adversity and one that wants to be known as playing together."
"It's not something you can coach. They are very selfless. Everybody on the team will do whatever I ask them them to help the team. There is a lot of blue collar attitude to what they do. They seem focused and that makes my job easier as a coach.”