Hopes are high heading into the Badger boys soccer season this fall thanks to an experienced roster that saw plenty of success a year ago.
Last year’s squad went 7-5-1 for the team’s first winning record since 2016, also finishing third in the Southern Lakes Conference standings for the team’s best finish since placing third in 2016 as well.
When the playoffs rolled around, the Badgers won their first playoff game since 2016, then followed that up with their first Regional Championship since 2010.
This season, the team has their sights set even higher, though the coaching staff might prefer a more grounded approach at times.
“We kind of try to keep them focused because they’re starting to look way down the road and we’re trying to tell them we’ve got to worry about tonight,” head coach Ross Fowler said.
However, the veteran coach also knows letting the team stay loose on and off the field has its own benefits.
“The guys are really excited about the season. It’s a great group, they work hard for each other. It’s a lot of fun,” Fowler said.
Badger’s confidence is not misplaced with four of the team’s five all-conference players from a season ago returning.
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In particular, the Badgers’ defensive corps should be a strength as first-team defender Tim DeVries and second-team defender Ron Sachdeva both are back.
On the offensive end, forward Jose Baltazar and midfielder Zion Walker both earned all-conference honorable mention last season, while the Badgers also return top goal scorer OJ Diaz and the team leader in assists Joel Torres.
With the addition of a few freshmen, a player or two that missed last season due to injuries and few players from last year’s JV squad, the Badgers have some additional talent to surround their veteran nucleus.
And for that reason, Fowler cannot help but join in on his player’s ambitions for the season.
“Last year was fun, and we felt like we could, this year, take it a step further,” Fowler said.