For the past 16 years, Derek Vierling has known nothing but Aledo soccer — as head coach, he’s taken the Bearcats to the playoffs 15 times.
But along the way, a certain player has come along that has made his job indescribable.
His son, Reed Vierling, is one of 15 seniors on the team as Aledo (16-4-2) hosts Fort Worth Arlington Heights (19-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Class 5A area round.
“It’s gone way too fast,” Derek Vierling said of coaching Reed at Aledo. “He’s been coming to games since he was about 3 years old, and scouting with me when he started club at 11.”
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This season the Bearcats won District 6-5A, their eighth title under Vierling. Aledo went on to beat Sherman 3-2 last week on goals from seniors Daniel De La Cerda, Jarrod Nelson and Tanner VanCuren.
“It’s something that’s very special and not many players get the opportunity to do this,” Reed Vierling said about playing for his dad. “I’ve been on the sidelines with him since I could walk and now getting to play for him has been a great experience and we’re making memories that’ll last a lifetime.”
Vierling, a midfielder, and senior forward Quinn Davis also helped the Aledo football team win the Class 5A Division II state title in December.
“It’s even more special since he’s a senior,” Derek Vierling said. “It’s awesome to win a state title, but it’s a little bit extra special when your son is playing.”
The two split time at place-kicker: Davis made 54 of 57 extra points and Vierling was a perfect 48 of 48.
“Being able to contribute and kick a field goal in the state championship was great and it helps me have success on the soccer field,” Davis added.
Kicking in football translates to the soccer game, but a friendship since the eighth grade also helps in the success for the Bearcats.
“It was fun kicking with Reed this year. The friendship we had on and off the field really made the season enjoyable and made me play better,” Davis said. “Plus going through 17 weeks of two-a-days, practices and games have really helped with our team chemistry.”
Junior midfielder Max Owens leads the team with 18 goals. De La Cerda, a forward, is second with 13, and VanCuren and Vierling have added nine and seven goals. Vierling has six assists. Nelson and Owens leads with nine and seven assists. Senior goalkeeper Caleb Hill has made 96 saves with 11 shutouts.
“The winning atmosphere from winning two state championships and playing in the state semifinals along with the intensity of playing in front of 30,000-plus fans has really helped us handle any kind of pressure that comes up in soccer,” Reed Vierling said.
Aledo soccer came mighty close to a UIL title once. The 2005 squad reached the 4A (now 5A) championship match, but lost to El Paso Del Valle 3-2.
“Bearcat football players expect to win and accept nothing less,” Derek Vierling added. “That’s tough to create on a team and when you have a few guys come in with that type of mentality it’s a tremendous boost to everyone else.”