It’s the year of the working man at Chatfield. Always blessed with talent and the expectations of heading up the Class 5A Jefferson County League field, the Chargers found themselves with a sea of shovel-ready soccer players.
A whopping 64 boys tried out this month and the Chargers were forced to cut 22 of them (although they tried to form another team to keep them all in the system).
“We’re just going to be a workman team this year,” Chargers coach Paul Moline said. “We don’t really have any superstars, but we have kids that just work for us.”
While there was plenty of talent in that mix, Moline is banking on the team concept hopefully carrying them beyond the second round of the state tournament where they were upset last year by Regis.
Starring for the Chargers this season in their crowded midfield will be Cory Whittwer, Grant Maestas and Conrad Bess. Moline said he might shift from the standard 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 to incorporate the technical talent he has in the middle of the field.
Aaron Sarfaty returns in goal, just behind defenders Billy Presson and Mitchell Brown. In attack the Chargers are expecting good things from Logan Bailey and Ryan Martin.
While Moline is used to be tabbed as the early favorites to win Jeffco and do well at state, he is wary of Bear Creek, which advanced to the state semifinals last season as a No. 20 seed.
Eagles changing directions
Damon Smerchek now controls both sides of soccer at Dakota Ridge. The girls head coach and formally the boys junior varsity coach, Smerchek was given control of the boys team back in April.
He’ll tell you, it’s good to be the king. And his first decree is to get the Eagles, who lost eight seniors, focused on playing disciplined soccer.
“We’ll play a lot of teams that talent-wise are probably going to be a little better, if not a lot better than us, but I’ve talked to the boys and kind of explained what our mentality has to be.”
The three pillars are senior goalkeeper Trevor Weilbach, senior forward Dan Wagner and sophomore defender Zach Newberry, who started every game last year as a freshman. Weilbach, however, could be the most important piece of the trio. Smerchek figures he’ll need to come up with a few top-shelf saves each game to help the Eagles grab a few extra victories.
Smerchek is very familiar with his players as the former JV coach, and he sees them playing a little more defensive early on in an attempt to protect their young defense as it gains experience.
Rebels young to the core
Columbine coach Brian Todd doesn’t waste much time or mince words.
“It’s all young kids,” he says.
With only three or four are seniors and three juniors, the core of this year’s team will be freshmen and sophomores. That is young. And that will be a challenge this season, although it will be fun to watch the team mature and hopefully set the stage for future years.
The three pillars for the Rebels will be sophomore standout Matt Marchena (who plays for Rush’s academy team), senior Daniel Clark and junior sweeper Peter Schichtel.eeIn addition to not being very old, the Rebels are not very big. They are skilled, however, and that could make for good matches against the right opponents.
“I actually have some soccer players, but we’re young,” Todd said. “We’ll have to see how it goes. It’s going to be tough to compete with those blue-collar teams … we’ll be good against teams that want to play soccer.”