Boys soccer, under the guidance of Sean Stewart, head coach, begins its fourth year as a sanctioned sport at Archbold High School, Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Van Buren.
The Archbold Soccer Club covers all expenses, but sanctioning allows the team to play in postseason tournaments.
The Streaks lost seven letterwinners from a team that went 19-1 in its third season last year and advanced to the Division III regional semifinals.
“There may not be a large number of returning varsity players, but the quality of those returning is very good,” said Stewart. “We have a proven goal scorer along with some good experience in the holding midfield and outside back positions.
“There is enough experienced talent on this team to create goals in a variety of ways. We have the ability to play possession soccer, but can also be very direct when needed.”
Seven letterwinners return, including four seniors: Micah Bernath, Brodie Nofziger, Jacob Ott, and Emerson Radabaugh.
Nofziger scored 33 goals in 2012 and was named First Team All-District and Second Team All-Ohio, while Ott was Second Team All- District.
Juniors returning are Matt Sevey and Gavin Morton. Morton is probably out for the season with a knee injury.
Also back is Jeremy Lerma, a sophomore.
Promising newcomers include Mike Weigand, Tyson Schnitkey, Oscar Calderon, Elijah Robison, Zach Meyer, and Andrew Mayer.
“With a lot of varsity spots open, we are looking for several players to make the jump up from junior varsity last year,” said Stewart.
“It is still unclear who will prove themselves capable of doing that.
“There will be others hoping to make an impact on the varsity squad as well, including a very talented incoming freshman class.”
Letterwinners lost include three-year letterwinners David Bontrager, Div. III District Player of the Year, First Team All-District, First Team All-Ohio; Shae Hernandez, Second Team All-District; and Seth Yoder.
Also lost were Ben Eggers, Alex Hurst, Ryan King, and Santos Quintanilla.
“We have a number of positions to fill, and a number of the players coming in are low on varsity experience,” said Stewart.
“This season is really going to be about younger/inexperienced players stepping up to fill some big roles. There is definitely enough talent on our squad to continue our past success, but it will be a challenge for some of our players to adapt to the varsity level, especially early in the season.”
“This is the first year for Northwest Ohio Athletic League soccer,” said the coach.
“I would like to think that we have an opportunity to be the first boys soccer champions in league history. This is definitely something that will be a goal for us this season.
“That said, I don’t expect it to be easy. Bryan is certainly a threat. They are well coached and have some quality in their squad.
“Swanton is a team that we have never seen before, but they have had some decent success in their history and are certainly a solid program.
“The other NWOAL programs have continued to get better as well, so it will be a real challenge to win this league.”