By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Glendale Falcons fielded a young roster last season and will again this year, but it will be a more experienced roster.
“Last year was a learning year for our kids,” said Glendale coach Jeff Rogers, who has a 528-190-33 record with the boys’ program and a 916-359-70 combined mark with the boys’ and girls’ teams at Glendale. “We were very young and started seven sophomores. We did not scale down our schedule and continued to seek top programs around the state to test our kids. We had our successes and, hopefully, we will build off of last year’s efforts.”
Those efforts included a 12-12 overall record, an 8-1 first-place finish in the Ozark Conference – its 16th overall – and a Class 3 District 10 championship – the 23rd in Glendale boys’ history. Nine of the Falcons’ 12 losses came either by one goal, in overtime or in penalty kicks.
“We were in every match, but didn’t have the maturity level to be successful,” Rogers said.
While the Falcons return the majority of their young starting lineup, they will have to fill the holes left by a talented trio from the Class of 2020.
Grant Compere notched his name in the Glendale record books with 22 assists for third all-time. He scored 11 goals, and earned Class 3 All-State First Team, Class 3 Region 3 Offensive Player of the Year, Class 3 District 10 Player of the Year and All-Ozark Conference Player of the Year honors.
Karter Lowry also made the Glendale record books with 16 goals, while also adding 10 assists and earning Class 3 All-State Second-Team, Class 3 All-Region 3, Class 3 All-District 10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year, All-OC First-Team honors.
Payton Webb scored six goals, had 10 assists and was named to the Class 3 District 10 and All-OC first teams.
“Grant was a great vision player and was able to put balls into space for teammates to be successful,” Rogers said. “He was also able to break teams down with his speed and technical abilities on the ball. Payton brought a passion to compete and was able to push our younger boys. Karter hates to lose and it showed in the way he played and fought to score goals for us.”
Glendale returns plenty of experience with 13 players, which includes four seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore.
• Alex Spence, junior, midfielder – Class 3 District 10 First Team, All-OC Second Team. “Alex is the baby of the Spence boys, but plays the game the way it should be played, Rogers said. “He will go hard from whistle to whistle.”
• Jack Gintz, senior, defender – Class 3 All-Region 3, Class 3 District 10 Defensive Player of the Year, All-OC Second Team. “Jack will need to step up in a vocal leadership role for us, is a strong defender in the air and can also push play.”
• Justin Kelly, senior, defender – “Justin is a great communicator on our back line, which is crucial for team defense. He gained valuable experience last year, and I know he will rely on his communication skills.”
• Camden Meyer, junior, goalkeeper – Class 3 District 10 Second Team, All-OC Second Team. “Cam is very technical in goal, and we will rely on his experience against strong offensive teams.”
• Biak Lian, junior, midfielder – Class 3 District 10 First Team, All-OC Honorable Mention. “I know Biak can be a player that other teams and coaches talk about, as he has all the tools.”
• Dylan Roberts, junior, defender – Class 3 District 10 Second Team. “Dilly played a key role for us last year with a young defensive unit. He has a big left foot and gets forward quickly.”
• Cayden Meyer, junior, defender – “Cayd is a strong defender, but is able to move forward and can be dangerous serving balls in the final third or shooting from distance.”
• Charlie Raridon, junior, defender – Class 3 District 10 Second Team. “Charlie is old school. He shows up every day ready to work and compete. He is a hard-nose defender, but I think he can surprise some teams if we move him up the field.”
• Jesus Martinez, junior, midfielder – Class 3 District 10 Second Team. “Jesus has deceptive speed and keeps the ball close to him when attacking. We will need him to produce for us this year.”
• Aaron Baldwin, senior, forward – “Aaron has a great quick first step and it allows him to get behind defenders. He puts himself in scoring lanes and we will need production from him to be successful in postseason play.”
• Andrei Balanean, sophomore, midfielder – “Drei had a big freshman year and showed a lot of promise. He is a talented central player and strikes a hard ball with either foot from distance. He works hard at his game and I hope he has a sophomore year that will make teams notice his abilities.”
• Haiden Casper, junior, forward – “Haid is very fast and can cause defenses to break down with his speed of play. He will run up top or on the outside of the field to allow us an offensive attack.”
• Jonathan DeAlba, senior, forward – “Jonathan has a great work ethic and a big personality. Both of those are critical in team dynamics. He is always around the goal and I know he will have a big senior year, finding us much-needed scoring.”
Rogers also has a solid option in goal with sophomore keeper Cole Vincel.
“Cole has a big presence in goal and is a great communicator,” Rogers said. “He had to fill in for Camden last year in some games and did a great job. He will be a great addition to our varsity roster and will be competing for minutes.”
But the Falcons have faced the challenge of being able to get on the pitch this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well getting new turf.
“Like everyone, it has been difficult to find a rhythm to summer training,” Rogers said. “We had a tourney in KC that we had to pull out of. We have really pushed the kids to take personal ownership of their training.”
Glendale opens the season on Aug. 28 at Ozark.
“Flexibility will be critical as things seem to change by the minute,” Rogers said. “We will need to take every practice or game as a gift and work as hard as we can.
“This group enjoys being together and competing together. We have talent and it will hopefully show in pressure play.”