The Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine boys soccer teams both missed the playoffs in 2013, but both squads have some strong returning players that make their coaches optimistic about 2014.
First-year coach Adam Phillips said that the Panthers are looking good early on and said that if it hadn’t been for the recent bad weather, his team would be even more polished.
“It's going very well,” Phillips said. “I think we have a lot of quality players. The weather has put a bit of a damper on things, because it has limited our practices, but what we have done has been high quality.”
Some of the Panthers’ strong returning players this season include James Jackson, Jackson Zeledon and keeper Adam Gaudet.
Phillips said that he has a couple of goals for his team coming into this season.
“The objectives are to compete every game and to develop a strong team,” Phillips said. “That's one side of it, and the other side is to develop good team chemistry.”
Phillips said that for his team to turn things around this season and earn a post season spot, it will take a couple of things.
“We will have to have commitment from the players,” Phillips said. “Every practice counts. Every time we are on the field is important. I think we understand that, and I have seen a lot of players step up this year that will help to make that happen.”
For the Grapevine boys, coach Heath Bullard said he has a number of returning players he believes are going to provide the corps of a team that challenges for a playoff spot as well.
“So far, we've been trying to figure out who is going to play what position and what our lineup is going to be,” Bullard said.
The Mustangs return Mitchell Priddy, keeper Nate Underwood, Cole Heath, Dan Plorin, and Sean Grace, among others, this season.
“We've got a pretty good little nucleus coming back,” Bullard said. “We just have to see if we can get it together. I think we've got a chance, but then again, I always think we've got a chance. We had 17 games last year that were either one-goal or tie games, and the bad part is that we only won a couple of them.”
Bullard said there are a couple of objectives for the coming season and said that he believes it will take the emergence of a good striker to allow Grapevine to get back to the playoffs.
“We really want to play better as a team and do a better job of possessing the ball,” Bullard said. “We've got finish some goals and work on our shooting, just things that will help us out a little bit.
“We've got to find a goal scorer. We've got to find someone that can put the ball in the back of the net. If we can do that, I think we can be successful.”