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PRC boys soccer looking to rebuild defense

The Blue Devils boys soccer program was successful against division opponents last season and ended the year as district champions.

However, there are going to be changes in the team when compared to last year’s squad.

A key aspect the unit will have to figure out this season will be the status of their defense.

Head Coach Joe Weems said that the squad lost all four of its defenders, and the team’s starting goalkeeper as well.

Weems doesn’t use that as a cop out for his players, and said that the work ethic of the athletes is what will allow them to overcome any obstacle that comes their way.

“It’s never as bad as I think it’ll be,” Weems said.

“These kids work their butts off, it might not be pretty, but they somehow find a way to compete.”

The program also added an assistant coach,

Cody Mickell has filled the new assistant coach role nicely. Along with his paraprofessional assistant John Trahan, Weems said the team is in good hands.

There will be a lot of young players taking the field for the boys team when the season starts, and there will be pressure to perform after last year’s successes.

However, Weems said that in order for the team to be competitive, certain points need to be emphasized.

“Our main focus is to have fun because we know it’ll be tough,” Weems said.

“If they’re not having fun, then I’m not getting the best out of them, and if I’m not getting the best out of them we’re not able to compete.”

Weems said the team would essentially be starting from scratch due to the amount of players who graduated last year.

“I’m just interested to see how the boys team will come together,” Weems said.

“It’s like working with a blank canvas, you’ve got some colors over here, but you don’t know what it’ll look like.”

Even with the overall inexperience, the team will have a couple of veterans who will have to lead the way.

“I expect a lot, I expect them to constantly get better,” Weems said.

“The attitude is what is important, mistakes are OK, but not learning from them is unacceptable.”

Weems said he appreciates his athletes, and the characteristics they bring to the table.

That’s why he makes sure to let them know they’re cared for and accepted within the team.

“We have the best kids, the most respectful kids, the hardest working kids, but they’re still kids,” Weems said. “They’re going to make mistakes.”

Those mistakes serve as learning opportunities for the young athletes, and teach them lessons they can take with them off the pitch.

“The lessons that they learn is to approach things with a positive attitude, and no matter how tough it gets you still give everything you got,” Weems said.

“Respect for your teammates is important, but respect for your opponent is more important.”

Even with the respect shown to opposing teams, Weems still wants his team to have that spark and tenacity when game time rolls around.

The team wants to make it to the playoffs this year, and with the talent coming in Weems said anything is possible.

“My expectations are always that we’re going to make playoffs, why are we doing this if we’re not trying to make playoffs?” Weems said.

“It’s going to be a tough road, but I think playoffs is something that they can do.”