Last year, White Pine High School did not have a boys soccer team.
And with boys’ soccer being a fall sport, things needed to be done in the spring and into the summer if Bobcat boys soccer would happen once again before the first game of the season on Sept. 1.
“Our main objective this year has been to get a team going and make sure we had enough players,” first-year head coach Terrill Trask said. “We were pleasantly surprised that we ended up with 15 kids, which is really good. But the issue with that is we got a wide range of players. We’ve got four seniors, and then we have a mix of juniors, freshmen and sophomores.”
Trask has players with varied skill sets on his team as he looks to mentor them as the season progresses.
Whenever someone is tackling something new, whether it is a sport or a hobby, there is a learning curve and Trask has had that opportunity to adapt and adjust this season.
The Bobcats boys soccer team even has a few players who have never competed on a pitch.
However, that is not deterring them from improving each day, especially for the first-year players that have another three years playing soccer for White Pine.
“Honestly, it’s been fun to watch my freshmen,” Trask said. “I had a freshman on the defense that we had to go out with the captains last week because he’s really starting to get a grasp of the game and willing to get people in the right position. And so, just that holistic view of soccer has been very fun to watch my new players and younger players develop.”
These players, especially the freshmen, finding success in the inaugural season of a restarted boys soccer program is only the foundation to a successful team for years to come.
“The fact that we’re building this program has been exciting to watch and I’m excited to see where we go in the future,” Trask said.
Two months into the season and Trask has continued to see improvement within his players, in addition to his younger players.
After having a couple of 7-0 losses, Trask said it is more than the outcome as growth is starting to emerge, even in their most recent game, a 1-0 loss on the road at Dayton.
“Our defense has really stepped up. I know if you look at the results, it probably doesn’t look that way,” Trask said. “But our defense has really been building. From where we were at the beginning of the year and where we’re at defensively, I think we’re a lot stronger.
“I think we’re a lot stronger in our communication as well. We’ve been able to implement some things that the kids are now communicating to each other and you’re starting to see some of those results.”
Having those improvements and the feeling of progression goes a long way. It is like the beginning of putting puzzle pieces together with the goal of completion.
White Pine, who is primarily playing on Fridays and Saturdays this season, is now preparing for a home match against Dayton in a rematch as the team celebrates Homecoming on Oct. 6, with kickoff beginning at 3:45 p.m.
Trask said his team is getting closer from last week against Dayton and needs to get the feeling of putting the ball into the back of the net in this rematch.
“We need to clean up just some touches,” Trask said. “Honestly, we had some opportunities. We got to figure out how to get the ball in the goal. We haven’t been able to do that yet so far. So that’s the main thing that we’re working on this week, being a little bit more offensive minded. Have to clean up those little touches that I think if we would have done that, we probably would have a goal. But that final touch just hasn’t been there yet.”
Building confidence is crucial in anything a person is trying to start, whether it is a team, a business, or even a friendship.
After their game against Dayton, the Bobcats have only six games remaining to the 2023 schedule, concluding with Senior Night on Tuesday, Oct. 24 against West Wendover at home as kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.
Trask said the goal over the final few weeks is to finish the season better than where the team started with staying focused and playing the best the team can play.
“Just being able to play some tighter games, games that are closer, finishing games stronger, playing a whole game of soccer,” Trask said of how he wants his team to finish. “Even if we lose, it’s okay, but being able to play from the first whistle to the last whistle. If we can play a complete game, that would be huge for us.”