Northeast Tarrant

Experienced Panthers have high hopes in new district

Colleyville Heritage senior captain Jackson Zeledon, No. 8, is one of many players who leads by example, said head coach Adam Phillips.
Colleyville Heritage senior captain Jackson Zeledon, No. 8, is one of many players who leads by example, said head coach Adam Phillips. Star-Telegram Archive

The Colleyville Heritage boys soccer team is coming off of a season in which it reached the playoffs and advanced to the second round, and coach Adam Phillips said based on how his team has performed so far this season, he is optimistic about another postseason showing.

Phillips said the team is competing at a high level early on this year and said that it should make for a fun and interesting season.

“We're doing well,” Phillips said on Sunday. “We're hurt a little, but we're playing well. We are undefeated, but we have a few ties. We are definitely progressing.”

Colleyville Heritage finished second in district competition last year, defeating Hebron in the bi-district round before losing to Duncanville at area.

Phillips said that he is expecting a couple of his players to step up into team leadership roles this year.

“We have a lot of players that are doing well,” Phillips said. “We have 21 or 22 seniors on our team. I would say our captains, Ryan Jakszta and Jackson Zeledon, will be our leaders, but they are two among many. It was hard to choose, because we have so many people that lead by example.”

Phillips said that he has seen a number of areas where his team looks strong early on and said that there is a lot to build on for the season.

“We've got a lot of experience returning,” Phillips said. “I think we handle the ball well, I think we defend well, and I think we have a good attack. I just think that we are a good team, overall. We play at a high pace, our keepers are exceptional, and we're just strong across the whole board.”

Phillips said the objectives for this season are two fold.

“We want to make the playoffs, of course,” Phillips said. “That's our big objective, and then we think we can go a long way. We expect to go far.”

Phillips said he is not sure how his team will be affected by realignment this season, but said that he does believe the level of competition his team will face is stronger overall.

“I think it's going to a little harder,” Phillips said. “Coppell's in there, and they are a really good soccer team. Southlake is in there, Richland and Trinity are in there, so it's going to be a tough district.”

In order to have a successful season along with a good playoff run, Phillips said it will take a couple of things from his players.

“I think are going to have to recover from our injuries,” Phillips said. “And then just look to string some passes together and look to possess the ball a little bit better. But I think we'll do better. I think that we will improve a lot as the season goes on. It is a long season, so I think we'll be OK.”

The Panthers opened up district competition with Trinity on Tuesday night after the paper had already gone to press and will host Haltom at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the CHHS competition field.