Soccer Insider: Southlake Carroll has national coach of the year

Posted Thursday, Feb. 06, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Southlake Carroll boys coach Greg Oglesby was recently named the national coach of the year for soccer by the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association.

The award was for the 2012-13 school year, in which the Dragons went 21-4-4 and advanced to the Class 5A Region I semifinals.

Oglesby said he was surprised by the honor, especially considering he had sort of forgotten about it since the nomination process began last spring.

“It’s really special because it’s an acknowledgement of a body of work,” he said.

Oglesby began the Carroll soccer program 18 years ago and won a state title with the Dragons in 2001.

“One of the neat things about this is the calls and emails I’ve received from kids that I coached five, 10, 20 years ago from club and high school,” he added.

Keller improvement

If you had asked Keller girls coach Billy Griffiths prior to the season what he thought about his team, he’d probably have told you he honestly didn’t know. The Indians returned only a pair of starters: all-district goalkeeper Kate Mason and midfielder Courtney McKeon.

With an influx of new faces to the varsity roster, including four freshmen and a number of players from a JV squad that lost just one game last season, there’s wasn’t a lot to be certain about.

But after starting the season with three draws and three losses, Keller has won three straight to start district play, and Griffiths sees his young, talented team coming along quickly.

“It was maybe a little bit surprising,” he said. “I think more than surprising — it was just unknown. We haven’t had a lot of freshmen come in and be as effective as these have been this early. It’s not a surprise, we were just really unsure of how it would go.”

The early struggles stemmed largely from a lack of scoring, which seems to have been resolved. In their three District 4-5A victories, the Indians have outscored opponents 13-2.

“We were tying 0-0; we had three or four of those,” Griffiths said. “We were creating opportunities that just weren’t going in the goal for us. I started realizing that we’re actually pretty good, and I knew that eventually the goals would start coming and that’s the way it’s worked out.”

Kennedale surge

After winning 18 games last season, the Kennedale girls team is off to a fast start in 2014. The Wildcats already have won 10 games, outscoring opponents 58-14, and have a tournament title in their dossier: the Colorado River Cup at Bastrop, besting Marble Falls in the finals.

“It’s always a big deal to win a tournament, especially when you win in penalty kicks,” coach Jena Pickett said. “Just the emotions and all the experience the girls were able to have going through that … really brought us together even more.”

This year’s group comprises only two seniors, a pair of juniors, and the remainder are sophomores and freshmen. Despite its youth, Pickett thinks these Wildcats have the weapons for a deep playoff run.

“They’re all so very smart,” she said. “The freshmen are able to look at our strong leadership and the chemistry on the team is amazing.”

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