The Southlake Carroll boys soccer team is in the postseason once again, and Michael Kays is a big part of the reason why.
The Dragons midfielder has been an offensive force this season, and coach Greg Oglesby said he really stepped up his game at a critical time.
“Michael brings great ‘one vs. one’ skills and a willingness to take people on,” Oglesby said. “He has stepped up since Nat (Kajiwara) went down, scoring eight goals and five assists and running the midfield.”
I have a huge amount of respect for the talent and competitiveness of our district, top to bottom. We take nothing for granted.
- Carroll midfielder Michael Kays
Kays said that he is pleased with the way that his team is playing as Carroll prepares for the playoffs, especially given the level of talent in District 5-6A.
“It’s not where you start, but where you end,” Kays said. “We started fast, going 7-0 in the preseason and when we started district play, we lost our first game. That kind of reset expectations as to the level of competition we were going to face.
“I have a huge amount of respect for the talent and competitiveness of our district, top to bottom. We take nothing for granted, and we need to work hard every game.”
Kays said he tries to bring energy to the team and to help facilitate the offense.
“Pressuring the ball, winning it and then getting it to Calvin (Herd) or Nat is a big part of what I do,” Kays said. “Of course, I am happy to get forward to do my part on the score line, but I know that we go best when I am winning, then passing the ball quickly into dangerous space.”
Kays lived two years in Sydney, Australia, where he played cricket and rugby and said he “learned that surfing can be a way of life.” He said to have a good run in the playoffs and possibly rival for a state tournament bid, it will take a couple of different things.
“We need to be disciplined and play our game,” Kays said. “We need to play fast, pressure high and dig in. We need to use our skills to the fullest, be positive, generous and accountable to one another, never give up and play the full 80 minutes every game.
“If we can get hot, minimize mistakes and get a couple of good bounces, I think we have a legitimate shot to bring home some hardware,” Kays said.
▪ Southlake Carroll faces McKinney Boyd at 7 p.m. Friday at Denton Braswell High School.