Wolverines boys soccer coach Andrew Duke says he’s “really optimistic” about this soccer season. “We have a lot of returning players,” he said.
Thirty-five kids turned out for the program this year, about 16 returning players from last year’s team, plus the new freshman. The team only lost three seniors last year.
“I’m seeing a lot of enthusiasm,” said Duke. “We have a lot of people who are really supportive in the community, and it only seems to be growing every year.” Duke is enthusiastic about the future of soccer in Friday Harbor, saying the youth coming up are getting better and better every year. He credits the Friday Harbor Football Club, which has made a goal of hiring top-quality coaches and researching what the high school program needs to continue raising the bar on its level of competitive play.
The team began playing on the new John O. Linde Field last year and Duke says it’s a nice change for San Juan Island soccer players to be able to say they have the nicest field in the league.
“The players seem to have more skill every year,” said Duke, adding that with the soccer camps run by Island Rec over the summer, many of the players are getting playing time both before and after the official soccer season. As usual, the team has been conducting intensive two-a-day practices for its first week, focusing on developing running fitness in the early morning and skills training in the afternoons. Duke says he’s still putting together his selections for the varsity squad, which will include about 20 boys.
“I’m really impressed with the commitment these guys have shown,” he said. “They’ve all shown up to practice and worked really hard. I think it’s gonna be a great year.” The Wolverines’ first boys soccer game is on Tuesday, Sept. 12.