The Legacy boys soccer team had one of the stronger defensive units in District 14-5A last season.
The problem was that the the Broncos struggled on the offensive side of the ball and ended up missing the postseason by one playoff spot.
Coach James Smelley said that the offseason is shaping up well so far, though, and he said that he has had his players focusing on a couple of different areas.
“Kids go out and play with their club teams, and then we have summer strength and conditioning, which all of the kids can participate in Monday through Thursday. We have a soccer camp this week for the younger kids, and really, we just encourage the kids to work on their strength and conditioning and work on their touch.”
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Smelley said that the camps are very important to the program for a couple of reasons.
“The great thing about high school camps is that it gets us a chance to meet the kids in the district all the way down to the first grade,” Smelley said. “These are the kids that are eventually going to be coming to Legacy High School. So I get to start knowing them and their parents and they get to know us. We teach a lot of skills, and we want the kids to have fun, but to a certain extent, a lot of it is just public relations and building the program.”
Reflecting on last season as a whole, Smelley said his feelings are somewhat mixed.
“We played pretty good defense,” Smelley said. “We lost a playoff spot on the very last night of the season. We had to beat Lake Ridge, and we needed Red Oak to lose, and neither one happened, but we were the second- or third-best defense in district; we just didn't have a true scorer.
“When you lose 1-0, 1-0, 1-0 over and over, or like in our case, we had five ties, if just a few of those results go our way, then you sneak in. The kids did play well, and we have a lot of seniors on this team.”
Smelley said he is expecting good seasons next year from a number of players, including Joel Shongu, whom Smelley believes is a goal scorer, but who was not able to play last year.
Smelley will also return Roberto Espinosa, Joseph Rodriguez, Sean Freidhof, Jacob Rowland, Ismael Perez, Brock Carpani and James Edwards, a group Smelley believes could be an offensive force as well.
Smelley said his team has to do a better job of finishing this season, because things are not going to get easier for the Broncos.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score last year, but we just couldn't finish on a regular basis,” he said. “Sometimes, that can be demoralizing. But our kids battled each and every game ... while I do believe we're going to be better this year, I think that everybody else will be better as well. It's a tough soccer district.”