The Carroll boys soccer team is gearing up for another successful season. Though losing a few games early in preseason play, the young Dragons team is beginning to hit its stride.
“We lost a great number of defenders from last year and we have a young team,” said head coach Greg Oglesby. “But the team’s chemistry is good and the challenge now is working in the new players.”
Oglesby knows a bit about building a team. He was the District 4-5A Coach of the Year last season, leading the Dragons to the 5A regional semifinals.
“A lot of the kids don’t know what it’s like to go through a tough season and postseason. In district, we play 14 critical games and every game is important to qualify for the playoffs,” he said. “We play a lot during the preseason to try to simulate that, but nothing is like the real thing.”
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Oglesby has guided Carroll to winning seasons 15 times since 1995, when he started the school’s soccer program.
That record, as well as his success throughout his 33 years coaching has led to his selection as the National Federation of High School Associations’ 2013 Boys Soccer Coach of the year.
“It is a very extensive, objective process where they assign points for every regional and state appearance, every 100 wins, and so on,” he said. “I am the 2013 award recipient, but it is more of an award for a body of work.”
Oglesby has had much support from family, friends and former students.
“The biggest thing I have learned through my years coaching is that it’s all about relationships,” he said. “The longer you are in it the more lives you touch. I have had a tremendous outpouring of emails, phone calls and tweets. With social media and my kids congratulating me, it got out to a lot of people really fast.”
Well-deserved praise for someone who has devoted so much of his life to his sport, his students and his school.
“I have been very fortunate to be in a great place,” Oglesby said. “I have great kids, great facilities and great assistant coaches.”
A recipe for success in any sport. Oglesby hopes it will spell success for his Dragons again this season.
“We have been very successful and I like to think it’s because we do things differently. We are unique in that regard, he said. “Our boys and girls programs work well together. We share what we have found has worked well with each other. We support each other. A lot of schools don’t have that.”
Along with the coaching staff, Oglesby is looking to two of his starting senior midfielders for support.
“We have two boys who had some significant minutes last year,” he said. “Walker Beasley and Jack Parrish both have the experience we need to run the show for us, to apply our scheme and get some scores.”
Both boys are suited to the role.
“They have a little bit more responsibility for leading and communicating with the younger ones,” Oglesby said. “Both of them have been hurt at different times this preseason and they have yet to play together, but they should both be back soon.”
Not too soon for a team on the cusp of opening district play against Keller Central on Jan. 28.
“We are hoping to get a few wins under our belt before district,” Oglesby said. “First and foremost our goal is to qualify for the playoffs again. We were one game away from the regional championship last year and we’d like to go further this year.”
His team may just have what it takes.
“We’ve got smart, hard-working, coachable boys,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have that here.”