The Legacy boys’ soccer team may have just missed out on the playoffs last season, but if depth and defense can mean climbing at least one more notch in the district standings, the Broncos could see the playoffs this season.
The Broncos opened the season this week at the Everman Tournament. They were facing Joshua and South Hills in the first two games before they entered bracket play for the remainder of the tournament. The sole non-district game for Legacy was Tuesday against Midlothian.
The season starts for real on Friday, as Legacy opens district play with Ennis at home at 7:45 p.m.
The season should take on the same tone as last year, said head coach James Smelley. That tone is strongly defensive in nature.
Last year, Legacy registered eight shutouts yet was still a game out of the playoff picture. The Broncos finished 5-5-4, giving up the second-fewest goals in the district.
What that means is that scoring was at a premium, which should take a turn for the better this year while still the stingy defense remains.
Legacy will have as many as six returning players back this season, including former midfielder Blaine Moore, who may see more time as a defender.
Helping anchor the defense is keeper Adrian Sanchez, who played solidly last season in helping to garner the shutouts.
Smelley said the Broncos are focusing on scoring in their workouts, but he noted the Broncos will still be known as a defensively stout team.
He noted that if no one can score on the Broncos, that team isn’t going to win.
“I feel good about where we are defensively,” Smelley said. “We have more skill and depth this year. We have 15 to 16 kids that can play well at a high level.”
That depth will be critical as Legacy enters the nine-team District 14-5A this year.
With nine teams, that will mean a 16-game district schedule where injury, illness or even grades could cause teams to falter during the hard grind of the district play.
In addition to returning players, Legacy should have a bonus of new move-in players. One such player, originally from Paris (France, not Texas), has moved in after playing last year in Chicago.
Another aspect of this year’s team which Smelley said will likely be an advantage over previous years – and is facilitated by the high number of returners – is better team chemistry.
“As we get into it, I think we’ll have better team chemistry,” Smelley said. “The guys feel better about each other, and the additional skill level we have will add to that.”
The long district road will include Lake Ridge, winner of last year’s district title and the likes of Ennis and Red Oak, other playoff-driven teams. The addition of Waxahachie and Summit – which went four rounds deep in the playoffs last season – more than make any team’s workload sizable.
“It’ll be a tough, tough district,” Smelley said. “We’ll just get after it and see what happens.”