The Meadowdale boys soccer team definitely endured some growing pains last season with only two seniors on the roster and three freshmen starters.
The Mavericks finished fourth in the league with a 4-9 record.
A year later, Mavericks coach Wade Foley sees a more mature team, ready to step up their level of play in the always tough Wesco 3A South.
This year’s squad is largely composed of seven seniors and six juniors.
“I’m excited about the team,” Foley said. “I look forward to league. The boys are very excited to compete. We had our struggles being so young the last couple of years.”
While some players faced challenges at the varsity level in the last two years, Foley sees little of that in 2014.
“There is no fear. They are stepping onto the field with confidence,” Foley said. “That’s something that takes time. … They’re not intimidated. They now know what to do to get it done.”
On Tuesday Meadowdale played to a 1-1 tie with Garfield, a team that had 20 seniors on its varsity roster. The Bulldogs brought a team with a lot of size and speed and Foley was curious to see how the Mavericks fared.
“The team responded well,” Foley said. “They understood what our goals are and what we need to do.”
Two key returners are all-league midfielder Tristan Springer and defender Taylor Linton, both seniors. Seniors Mark Steinke and Benjamin Cruz will handle the goalkeeping duties this season.
“We’ve got some mature players,” Foley said.
Junior Stuart Smith also saw a lot of playing time last year. The lone freshman, Nathan Redd, joins older brother Thomas Redd, a senior. Both play in the midfield.
Foley sees the difference a year makes.
“We’re better in all categories overall,” he said. “The kids get a year of growth and get better.
“We’ll be more competitive than last year.”