The Linconton Wolves boys varsity soccer team is feeling good about its chances in the upcoming season.
Lincolnton graduated four starters from last year’s team, including defenders Jorge Rosales and Zach Wells, but has retained the majority of its roster. Striker Eric Carias has rejoined the team after being unable to play last year, and will be supported by Lincolnton’s numerous midfielders. The team will also be bolstered by several players from last year’s junior varsity squad.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead, but one of our goals is winning the conference and we believe we can go the whole distance if we can put everything together,” head coach Ian Leith said.
Leith has worked with the majority of the players on this year’s team since their freshman year.
“We’ve grown over four years in terms of individual talent and team talent,” he said. “There’s a team mentality now, that we win together and lose together.”
Lincolnton made its exit from last year’s playoffs with a 3-0 loss to East Lincoln in the third round. Leith said he believes the team can go farther this year if they can stay focused and maintain that “team mentality.”
“They’re going to have to want to put it together when it matters,” he said. “I feel like we had it last year, but when it came down to it we didn’t have the heart. One big difference is that this is their senior year and they’ll play with more heart and passion. The question is ‘are we going to have that same mentality through every single minute of every playoff game?’ If the answer is ‘yes’ then I don’t see anyone beating us.”
The Wolves are currently holding summer workouts that have been attended not only by members of the team, but by former players and even players from other schools. Leith said the team starts off the days with an hour of skills sets and fitness work before moving on to scrimmage play. The first official practice date for all schools in North Carolina is July 30.