Mansfield Sports

January 6, 2014

Legacy soccer building teamwork, fitness level

New head coach James Smelley aims to get the program back to the level it was at four years ago when it reached the state tournament.

The Legacy boys soccer program has seen success in the recent past and the push to get back to that place is in the works under the Broncos’ new head coach.

It was four years ago that Legacy made a state tournament appearance.

To get back to the playoffs, the team that will enter the tournament at Everman this week in the team’s first games, will be in better condition and have more well-rounded fitness, said head coach James Smelley.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in the weight room, working on agility and having better athleticism,” Smelley said. “They’ve been working real hard and buying in to the program.”

This is the time of year the Broncos will find out if it will pay off, he said.

Although Legacy returns just four starters, Smelley said many have some varsity experience. But, being new at the helm, Smelley said all the positions were up for grabs this season and the best 15-20 players will make the squad.

“Everyone will earn their position,” Smelley said, noting he has seen very encouraging signs for a successful season.

“I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far and there have been some pleasant surprises,” he said.

Two of the known commodities for the Broncos this year are Jeremy Holder and Daniel Moore.

Smelley said the team will build around Holder, a defender and midfielder, who is “one of the best in the area.”

Moore, a sweeper and forward, is tagged by the coach as one of the smartest players he’s seen in some time who will lend leadership on the field.

With scrimmages last week with Red Oak and Arlington Heights under its belt, Legacy was to have a last scrimmage with Granbury on Tuesday before opening the season with the tournament at Everman on Thursday. They’ll be facing Joshua, Aledo and South Hills at minimum.

The scrimmages were a time for many of the players to get in sync at new positions, get into the flow of the game while playing together and learn how to anticipate the play of their teammates.

“They need to better understand how they’ll each move on the field and merge together,” Smelley said. “It’s been encouraging, but we have to start now. We’ll have a good feel after the tournament about finding the right combination.”

The biggest change, though, has come with the improvement of the general fitness level, Smelley said.

“The biggest shock in the development of the team has been in the fitness,” Smelley said, noting the team’s average three-mile run times dropped to 18 minutes for the varsity and 21 minutes for the JV.

Smelley joked that his Broncos may not always be the most talented soccer team, but they’ll be one of the most fit.

Certainly, the hopes are that the athleticism will translate into a score here and there and even a solid defensive play along the line, which will mean the difference in a few games over the course of the season.

In addition to the Everman tournament, Legacy will also have a tough non-district schedule which includes Northside, Denton and Timberview.

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