By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– It’s that time of the year.
And though the weather is heating up for summer’s last hurrah, the season is just started to heating up for the other kind of football:
Or what we call, soccer.
Trickling in for their 9am practice on the practice field, the Stayton Boys Soccer team are looking to build off the success they built for themselves as a young unit as they prepare for a tough season ahead.
“It was good for us,” said Alex Cramer, who was on the State Runner-Up Team in 2015, on the summer. “Because none of us really played together expect for a couple of guys. It was nice for us to get the experience playing and stuff like that.
“We didn’t necessarily win every game, but it’s better than if we just practiced because we would’ve had the same intensity, we learned to trust each other more.”
For Courage Minton, who saw some action on Varsity in 2015 as well, knows that they have to fill the big shoes that Ivan and Freddie Navarro left when they graduated back in June.
“We just need to work harder,” said Minton. “I think everyone want to win another title. We have some younger guys and I think everyone needs to step up and be Ivan and Freddie, we just have to work harder each day.”
Chris Shields set up a tough preseason schedule for his Eagles squad, on the road at Seaside, home versus Molalla, and then hosting 5A Lebanon before entering Oregon West Conference play where they know teams like North Marion are looking to dethrone the six-time OWC Champions.
“We’ve came a long way, they got a lot better as the summer went on,” started Shields on his team “I feel happy at where we’re at as a group. I think that’s the goal is to win league and playoffs are kind of what they are. You got to stay healthy and there’s some luck that goes with it.
“But the big one is to win this league and get into the playoffs at the highest possible rankings we can get at. So playing a tough preseason, playing within our league, if it works out that we win, it’ll kind of sort itself out in the playoffs.”
Cramer knows the recipe for success as he, and the rest of the Varsity returners, knows as they take the field for stretching:
“It’s hard work,” smiled Cramer. “You got to be willing to put in a lot of effort and really, really work at it. You got to run and work in your off-time so you can be ready for everything. You got to be in shape and learn how to play faster than what it might’ve been on JV.
“Basically the stress is to play really, really fast so we can get used to higher level of people from other teams. North Marion, Sisters, teams like that.”
As for the excitement for the season as they talk Pokemon Go and Minecraft during stretching, it’s there.
“Oh a lot more excited than for other things,” said Cramer. “Its definitely great, I like playing in the school season than anything else.”
Shields joined in the talk of Pokemon Go and walking to crack eggs for more pokemon, it’s just what they do he said.
“We joke about that kind of stuff, it’s what guys do,” smiled Shields. “All guys play videos games, I play video games. So I don’t have an issue with that, I just want to make sure the guys are spending time working on their skills and not just running playing Pokemon Go,
“I think any college coach would say that. It’s kind of like a plague.”
At least they were working on their craft with Shields keeping a close eye on how his team’s improving and not focusing on which Pokemon they caught.
The season starts September 2 with an Endowment Game versus McLoughlin.
9/2 home v McLoughlin 3:00 (Endowment game)
9/6 at Seaside 7:00
9/8 home v Molalla 6:00
9/13 home v Lebanon 6:00
9/20 home v Philomath 6:00
9/22 at Cascade 4:00
9/27 home v YC 6:00
9/29 home v North Marion 6:00
10/4 at Newport 6:00
10/6 at Philomath 4:00
10/12 home v Cascade 5:00
10/18 at YC 4:00
10/20 at North Marion 4:00
10/25 home v Newport 6:00
9/6 at Seaside 5:00
9/8 home v Molalla 4:00
9/13 home v Lebanon 4:00
9/20 home v Philomath 4:00
9/22 at Cascade 5:30
9/27 home v YC 4:00
9/29 home v North Marion 4:00
10/4 at Newport 4:00
10/6 at Philomath 5:30
10/12 home v Cascade 3:30
10/18 at YC 5:30
10/20 at North Marion 5:30
10/25 home v Newport 4:00
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos From Practice (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)