With a strong defence and two solid keepers, good playmaking ability midfield, and good scoring potential up front, the EDSS senior boys’ soccer team’s strongest asset is that it has no weak spots.
“In past years you sort of have one or two of those things, but there’s usually a glaring weakness in another area,” said coach Keith Halley. “For this team, I’m quite impressed with the overall ability shown by all the different positions.”
EDSS posted 4-0 wins in its first two starts, over Preston and Huron Heights, and defeated Kitchener Collegiate 6-2 on Tuesday.
Halley saw the beginnings of this team two years ago, when he had a solid squad with a number of Grade 9s who were starters. Those Grade 9s are now in Grade 11 and form the core of this year’s team. Along with the group of Grade 11s, there’s a good mix of Grade 12s and junior players.
“We have a great soccer culture this year too, I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much enthusiasm for the game.”
Halley also has a good team on the sidelines helping with the coaching. Assistant coach Chris Finnie steps in when Halley is busy coaching his rep team; manager Dawn Marshall takes care of the administrative side, and Murray Showers focuses his attention on the goalies.
“It’s really good to be able to have someone just concentrate their time on the keepers, because it’s a completely different position than anything else,” Halley said. “We’ve never had that role filled before.”
Keeper Patrick Paquin logged shutouts in the first two games, and Halley said he’s seeing increased confidence from his goalie this year.
“He didn’t start many games last year, but … he was young too, so it’s really made a difference; having that experience and having the confidence that goes along with that experience.”
During the regular season, EDSS is grouped with smaller, triple-A schools. Halley is hoping the team will perform well enough during the six-game regular season to move from the first division up to the premier division with the larger AAAA schools.
To do that, Halley said the team will have to work on finishing around its opponents’ net.
“We’ve had a lot of chances to shoot on the net; I want us to take those shots,” he said. “When we play against the stronger teams, we may only have two or three chances in a game to score and we have to maximize what we do with those chances.”
That said, he was impressed with the way the boys performed in their first matches, largely controlling the play against schools he thought would pose a tougher challenge.
“I really think we could be quite competitive with the quad-A schools.”