By Matt Turer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fair Grove was a young team last fall and still managed to put up one of the most statistically productive seasons in program history. The 2016 Eagles won 14 games (third all-time), scored 68 goals (tied most all-time) and finished with 42 assists (third all-time).
That production didn’t end in a second consecutive district championship appearance—in part because of a tough opening matchup against eventual district champ Fatima (a 1-0 loss)—but with all that’s coming back to Fair Grove in 2017, the Eagles are a threat to get there this year.
“With nine seniors out of my 21 players, we have a really interesting mix [this year],” head coach Joseph Florez said. “We’re trying to capitalize on the investment, time and effort that these seniors have put in to peak this year, while also training the younger guys for both now and the future.”
Seniors Ryan Padgett, Brian Carroll and Noah Argenta return and will play similar roles defensively as they did in 2016.
Kyle and Kamron Stacey will take on more responsibility as Fair Grove’s starting center mids this season as they begin their junior years.
Garrett Potter (Sr.) and Maicol Newkirk (Jr.) return and will be Fair Grove’s top scoring threats, according to Florez.
“They took on much bigger roles last year toward the end of the season and both really finished strong,” Florez said. “Maicol earned an all-region nod for his efforts but will now have to learn to play as the focal part of our offense, a task that we’re really excited for him to take on.”
Newkirk is the team’s top returning scorer after 18 goals and 11 assists last fall. Potter (5 G, 4 A), Kyle Stacey (7 G, 3 A) and Kamron Stacey (2 G, 6 A) are the other top returning scorers.
“We have a lot of multi-sport athletes, which Fair Grove encourages,” Florez said. “While most of my kids didn’t spend their offseason only playing soccer, many come into the season fairly in shape and well-rounded athletically.
“The multi-sport thing at some schools could be a negative, but at Fair Grove we have so many coaches that teach team-first attitudes, unselfish play, hard work and high character. Because of this, these are the traits I’m seeing from my guys as the season gets started.”