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PRC soccer trying to groom young talent

The Pearl River Central soccer teams will have tryouts the third week of March before truly kicking off practices when summer comes around.

Both the girls and boys teams will have to replace some key players.

The teams will lose a combined six seniors to graduation and will need younger players to step up.

Head Coach Joe Weems said that last season he talked to athletes on both teams and told them to bide their time.

Playing time may have been hard to come by, but with the amount of players departing it’ll be imperative for younger players to embrace their new roles.

“We kept reminding them that they may not be getting as much playing time as they want, but hold on because next year they’d be able to,” Weems said.

More time spent on the field competing and in the weight room building strength will benefit the next round of athletes.

Improvement is an ongoing process as the players develop greatly over the summer months.

Different players will emerge as key components of next year’s team as the months go by and Weems said evaluating the talent over time is paramount.

“They’re going to have to step up and play in new spots. It’s a process and it’s hard to make a decision (on starters) until fall,” Weems said.

Neither team made it to the playoffs this past season. Weems said finding leaders in both squads would help elevate the teams’ play.

Age isn’t a determining factor when it comes to finding a leader, but either way the teams will need to have players step up in order to have a postseason opportunity next season.

“We’re looking for anybody to be a leader, it doesn’t have to be a senior. It’s not just a coach’s responsibility to motivate the players,” Weems said.

A higher level of intensity will be something Weems is searching for during the summer and fall practices.

Competition between players only benefits the team as the athletes push themselves to improve.

Summer practices will quickly shift to fall sessions before the season closes in.

The limited time means the players must make the most of their time on the field, so Weems said he would be pushing his players to bring the energy during the offseason practices.

“We could’ve been a little bit more intense (last year). We’ve had a stronger reminder (this year) that time is going to run out,” Weems said.

The squads will go back to basics when practices start up.

Neither team has an abundance of experienced players, so building a good foundation for the younger athletes will be prioritized.

The teams will take part in a summer camp, which will emphasize individual development along with some intense conditioning. “We are very, very young and we competed in a lot of games last year, but there were times that our touch and pace of play couldn’t keep up,” Weems said.