The Keller boys soccer team will be headed back to the playoffs this season after having to sit it out last year, and a senior captain said he wouldn’t have it any other way for his final campaign.
Ben Lucas is in his fourth year on the varsity squad at Keller and is a stalwart leader of the Indians, but not because he’s stacking up goals.
The center/back fielder enjoys the position because he said he can better see the whole team across the field and help direct an attack.
That seems to be exactly where a team leader would want to be.
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“Personally, this year has been different for me due to being a senior and looking over everyone,” Lucas said. “All the seniors look after the others. There’s a chemistry among the teammates where we’re very connected on and off the field. This year just feels much better than any other year.”
Inclusion of the younger players has been an area of focus for Lucas and his seven other senior teammates. Lucas has also opened the line of communication with the underclassmen to make sure they feel connected.
For Lucas, the year is already all he hoped it could be.
He is a better leader, not just goal-wise, he said, as he’s scored three goals during the district schedule.
Grateful for the way the year has worked out, Lucas said he has made great friends with many of the younger players and expects to stay connected over the years. “They’re even two years younger but I love to hang out with them,” Lucas said of the bond developed with the underclassmen.
Having worked with the other players over the course of the summer and off-season, Lucas said they got together three to four times a week on their own to work out. Lucas also played on a select club team to help improve his skills.
“We’d be up there early,” Lucas said of the summer gatherings at the school to work out. “We’d fire shots at the goalie, and being out there all the time helped us grow closer.”
Lucas was part of a playoff team as a freshman, and the Indians went three rounds deep in his sophomore year. Keller had an off-year last season, with Lucas and the remainder of his teammates sitting at home.
The Indians clinched their playoff spot this year with their last win over Timber Creek two games ago, and a 1-0 win over Fossil Ridge helped solidify their third-place seed.
The work over the summer has contributed to the success of Keller this season which is the difference over last year, Lucas said.
“Everybody on this year’s team wants to play,” he said. “We all want to play well and work with each other. Along with the other captain, Cole Assour, we know we’ve got to work hard to get to where we want to go.”
Lucas is slow to take any credit for helping the team return to the postseason. Instead, he continues to say the lack of any standouts has been the key for the Indians.
“We play as a team,” he explained. “We have no outstanding player to feed the ball to. We just play. Every other team has one player that scores all the goals. We just play as one.”
Senior night will be Friday against Northwest, and Lucas was reflective when he said he was glad he stayed with the sport after beginning in fourth grade.
“I’m glad I stuck with it,” he said. “It’s been the best four years of soccer ever.”