The Homer High School boys and girls soccer teams faced their first games of the season against Kenai on Wednesday. They will play their second of the season at home on Saturday, April 9 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
As with many of the other boys sports teams this year, the boys soccer team is built mostly around a core group of sophomores, said sophomore Charles Rohr. After the departures of last year’s seniors, the boys soccer team is focusing on building a strong team over their high school careers.
“I think it’s really exciting that our team is so young in a way because we don’t have the most skill right now, but we definitely are a team and we’ll be able to just build what we want for the future,” said sophomore Charlie Menke. “We all are going to make our team from right now to really good when we’re all seniors.”
Although they are optimistic about the long-term prospects of the team, the players recognize that the short term might be rough.
“It’s going to be tough because we have five upperclassmen and it’s mainly going to be a bunch of underclassmen competing with the biggest cities’ seniors,” said sophomore Oliver Beck.
“We’re going to put a team on the field this year. I suspect that will be the most exciting thing to watch,” said boys soccer head coach Warren Waldorf.
The newest part of Homer High School’s girls soccer team is their head coach, Mike Tozzo. Taking lead of the team, Tozzo is a long-time soccer player who teaches in Ninilchik.
“I actually moved to Alaska in 2005 to Petersburg, Alaska, to write for the paper. I covered all the sports,” Tozzo said. “Then I went back to school, got my masters … coaching varsity soccer has always been something I’ve wanted to do, always something I’ve been passionate about.”
The team is looking at “Toz” to see what type of leadership he is going to bring to the field.
“I’m looking forward to see where Toz is going to bring us as a team. I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can go with him. No pressure,” said senior Rachel Ellert. “We’ve been working on a lot of sprinting, which is good. I feel like in the past we haven’t really worked on that and I feel like with soccer it’s really important to have that burst of energy.”
Before playing Kenai, the seniors on the team said they are confident that they can at least get close to a win against their rival team. Overall though, they’re looking at the season as a whole.
“I’m really looking forward to getting better and excelling this year. I think we’re going to get further in our soccer careers this year,” said senior Sydney Lee.
“From what I’ve seen so far, they’ve got a good core group. There’s a lot of young kids and a good group of seniors and there’s a lot of soccer experience on the team and a lot of soccer IQ so that’s a good thing to start with,” Tozzo said. “One of the things I’m looking forward to is just gelling as a group as we move forward.”