After a 2010 derailed by injuries, Ridgway boys soccer looks to make a comeback this fall.
One positive that head coach John Ogden took out of the injuries was seeing younger players get a chance to play at the varsity level.
“They’re young but they all had the experience of playing last year because we had those injuries so all the freshmen that moved up to sophomores, they’re used to playing high school competition and actually the kids that are moving up on the team this year played throughout the summer,” Ogden said. “We’ve got the experience and we got a good group of kids. I think now we’re going to jell and I think we’re going to surprise some people.”
One aspect Ogden wants to enhance among the players is confidence in their own abilities.
“Just getting it through their heads that they could win,” Ogden said. “They are better than what they really think they are. I think once we can get them to see that, they’re going to be unstoppable.”
The confidence level seems to be growing according to Ogden. He said the players had positive experience in the team’s first two scrimmages entering the season.
“I think the way the last two scrimmages went, that’s starting to build it. We’re starting to see that they’re putting things together,” Ogden said. “This summer, most of them played on a travel team. They won a few games and that confidence is starting to grow, now they think they can do it. Now, we just got to get them so that they can beat a school like ECC or St. Marys that they haven’t beat in a while and their confidence level is going to be through the roof.”
One concern for the Elkers is the lack of depth on the team. As of Aug. 29, Ridgway had 14 players on the roster.
“That’s scary because last year we had five injuries where we had to put the freshmen in,” Ogden said. “We have five injuries this year, we’re in trouble. The depth scares us. But they’ve worked hard this summer. They’re in better shape than they’ve ever been in.”
Ogden said he hopes the team has luck on their side to avoid fluke injuries that could hamper the team’s chances. But entering the opening of the season Friday night, the third-year head coach said this is the best team he will field.
“I think of the three years I’ve been coaching this is the best team,” Ogden said. “I think they’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
Ridgway opens the season at Brockway on Friday night at 7 p.m. Team members for the season are: Justin Kinkead, Chris Persinger, Joe Horning, Matt Bobby, Kyle Jacobs, Josh Braley, Dustin Cowan, Luke Bobby, Ryan McClelland, Greg Paige, Tad Pierce, Kyle Kinkead, Mike Knarr and Jesse Schneider.