The Felicity Cardinals’ boys’ soccer will run out a varied group of players this season in hopes of not only matching last season’s success, but surpassing it.
“We do have a lot of good seniors this year,” head coach Vicki Wehrum said. “But we have a very large group of kids who are sophomore and juniors. I think it’s basically getting their skills back and getting them some playing time and experience that will help the team.”
The senior class, as well as the team, will be led by senior forward Bradlee Prather. Prather was a First Team All-Southern Buckeye Conference selection a year ago and Wehrum is expecting him to pick up where he left off last October.
“He has done well all through high school so I expect him to shine,” Wehrum said. “He is a senior so he has a lot of experience and I expect a lot out of him. I think he will do well.”
While Prather leads the offense, Wehrum is banking on Chris Smith to hold down the defensive end of the pitch as the senior steps between the posts to play goalkeeper.
“(Smith)’s only played goalie a couple of times, but he’s going to fill it in for us this season,” Wehrum said.
While the few seniors on the team will be responsible for keeping the Cardinals near the top of the standings, Wehrum believes it will be important to prepare the next crop of players down the roster for when the experienced players graduate.
“We’re trying to work on rebuilding the team for the next couple of years,” she said. “The freshman have a lot of potential and one that will be playing striker is Austin Paskow.
“He’s got a killer left foot, which is pretty awesome and unique because those are hard to come by. He’s a little guy, but he’s a powerhouse. He has a lot to offer and he’s going to do well.”
Wehrum is also expecting some big things from Kyle Louderback, a midfielder that can do a little bit of everything.
“He can play anywhere and plays with a lot heart, passion and speed. He does really well.”
The Cardinals will run a 3-4-3 with the four midfielders pushing up offensively to serve as a safety outlet for the three strikers up front. Wehrum expects Prather, Paskow and Aaron Housh to man the three front line positions.
In the league, Wehrum expects to have the most competition from Batavia.
“We always struggle playing with Batavia,” the coach said. “In our division, it’s really only four schools so it’s hard to move anywhere.”
The Cardinals kicked off their season on Wednesday, Aug. 22 against Eastern, but will face their first real watermark game on Tuesday, Aug. 28 when they travel to face Batavia at 4:30 p.m.