Looking to take the next step
St. Charles a year older, wiser for 2016
After going winless in its inaugural season two years ago, the St. Charles High School boys soccer team made strides in 2015, finishing with five wins.
This season with eight returning starters back in the lineup, head coach Matt Chisholm and the Spartans are looking to take the next step.
“We did well in the county last season, but we’ve never beaten an out-of-county opponent so we want to compete with the St. Mary’s and the Calvert County teams,” Chisholm said. Four of his team’s wins came against county foes, while being shutout five times by out-of-county teams. “This year we want to take it game by game and don’t want to look ahead. We know how good the teams are in the conference.”
Chisholm added that the first year of the program was trying to build numbers on the team and last season it was about searching for wins.
“It is just a matter of us taking things in stride and what is a little different this year is that there will be games that we expect to win, where that never used to be the case,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how they handle the expectation of winning. When it is 0-0 in second half or you are trailing in the second half, we will have to adjust to that.”
Of the 18 players on St. Charles’ roster, Chisholm said 11 were on varsity as freshmen in the program’s first season. After tough two seasons, the Spartans will feature a bevy of promising talent with 10 juniors, six seniors, a freshman and a sophomore while looking to move up within the conference ranks.
Returning for the Spartans at the striker position is the team’s leading scorer last season in junior Josue Funes, who is joined by junior teammate Drew Carter. The midfield is junior-laden with Roy Henderson, CJ Nunn, Jon Moss and Taylor Thompson.
“We have a lot of juniors, but we are still a young team and it is going to come down to execution and working hard as a unit like we do in practice,” Henderson said. “As you can see we have been working a lot on our touch, but our strength is our team chemistry. A lot of players on this team have been on here for three years, so we are really locked in like a family bond.”
Senior Tommy Snyder, who will be entering his third year as a starter, will return as the team’s sweeper and anchoring the defense is junior Kle Wood.
Senior goalkeeper Kyle Frye is elated to be back with the soccer team after not playing his junior season.
“Obviously this is my first year back with the team and I have high standards for this team,” Frye said. “We all jell perfectly and I feel that we can do really well this year. We bring back a lot of experience and have some talent.”
On what he has been working on in the offseason, he said, “I’ve been working on distribution and communication. And body positioning is going to be key also, just normal fundamentals that you need to know in the goalie box.”
St. Charles had its first out-of-county test Friday evening with its season opener at Great Mills, a 1-0 loss with the lone goal coming with six minutes left in regulation. The Spartans next contest is also out of the county, a scheduled 6 p.m. kickoff at Class 3A South Region champion Huntingtown.
Junior Jeremiah Allen, left, defends junior teammate Taylor Thompson in a drill during a recent practice as St. Charles prepared for the regular season.
St. Charles junior striker Josue Funes returns as the boys soccer team’s primary scorers for the 2016 season.