Last season, the Waterloo High School soccer team was one of the youngest squads in the area. A group comprised mostly of sophomores and juniors went 11-10-2, losing in the regional championship game to Mississippi Valley Conference rival Triad.
Those sophomores and juniors are now juniors and seniors, and they are looking to take the next step.
The Bulldogs return 20 of 22 players from last season, including every starter, and head coach Chad Holden thinks that his team’s experience will be the key to their success this season.The 2014 Waterloo High School boys soccer team is, not pictured in order, Gavin Taylor, Cole Kaiping, Collin Webb, Kane Osterhage, Dalton Berg, Ethan Lewis, Jared Goessling, Tyler Begis, Sean Kirkpatrick, Dawson Holden, Noah Mouradian, Jon Maag, Jon Kreher, Taylor Baum, Nathan Huelsman, Josh Kaiping, David Lunk, Kyle Spisak, Steven Pope, Justin Kohler, Drew Marshall, Tim Nodorft, Tyler Grob, Josh Mathenia, Nick Valerius, Jonathan Lunk, Brendan Young, Mike Barton, Andrew Yount, Cale Tutor, Chase Rubemeyer, Kyle Schaefer, Jake Wagner, Daniel Grove, Clay Metz, Adam Shelby, David Matzenbacher, Jarrett Lange, Adam Robson, Frank Libera, Tyler Chitty, Ryan Bommarito, Liam Kennedy, Danny Tharp, Trevor Coplin, Charlie McGhee, Jake Barker, Devan Rayfield, Matthew Kish and Cole Francis. (Alan Dooley photo)
“Not too many teams can say that they return their entire starting lineup in any sport, but we have that advantage,” he said.
The senior class will be holding down the defense, as Dalton Berg, Adam Shelby and Kyle Spisak will man the backfield while fellow seniors Sean Kirkpatrick, Jon Maag and Jared Goessling will solidify the defensive midfield positions.
Holden expects seniors Charlie McGhee and Tyler Chitty to compete for time in goal.
The offense, meanwhile, will be provided by the juniors. Cole Kaiping, Kane Osterhage, and Ethan Lewis will be spark plugs in the attacking midfield, and classmates Clay Metz and Tyler Begis will be up top.
Waterloo also boasts a quality bench. Several players, including Daniel Grove, David Matzenbacher, Ryan Bommarito, Josh Mathenia and Chase Rubemeyer will compete for playing time. Holden thinks that the team’s depth can carry them over the top.
“We have a lot of players who can fill in at any time,” he said. “Having this many good players really makes our practices competitive, which makes us better as a team.”
With so much talent, the Bulldogs could be in line for a special season, but Holden is keeping his goals simple.
“Winning (the) conference is always the main goal for us, along with doing well in the postseason,” he said. “The season is long and we have a difficult schedule, but we feel confident that we should be competitive in every game we play.”