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Changes at North bring a fresh perspective
POULSBO — A new coach, a new league and a slightly different style of play mark the upcoming Vikings girls soccer season.
The game strategy will shift to a mildly different approach on defense in the midfield and a new focus on offense.
But these driven athletes are up for any changes and challenges the sport might throw at them.
“They are committed both in and out of the classroom. They’re excellent students and bring that work ethic to soccer,” said head coach Dee Taylor. “They are multi-talented. They want to be proud of this school and proud of this program.”
In the midst of the slew of changes, the focus is developing an identity and strong leadership, as the skills are already solid as cement.
Taylor said the approximate 50 girls who turned out are equipped with a very high soccer IQ, and they take direction very well.
Pushing them on fitness isn’t something he’ll have to do. Instilling a desire to do well isn’t required, they already want to be successful, and have team unity nailed.
“I expect us, with the depth of quality I see, to be near the top of the Olympic League. At minimum our goal is to get to state,” Taylor said before highlighting the team’s strengths. “They have a high skill level, a high work rate and a desire to set high goals and go after them.”
Although the team has yet to determine any specific season ambitions, Taylor said their goals will go beyond winning this or that, to defining success in a variety of ways.
But before competition time arrives, a lot of work on the field will be the grind, mainly in the areas of upping the fitness level to game standards, incorporating game tactics and the emergence of strong leadership.
Taylor looks to seniors defender Jennifer Sargent and midfielder Sydney Byers, offensive player junior Siara Byers and sophomore midfielder Elya Le to solidify leadership. He also has high hopes for newcomer freshman Delanee Niles, who’s a tremendous player, he said.
“There’s a lot of players who are going to have a big impact,” Taylor said. “They’re really a great group to work with.”
The players began practice on Monday and have been doing daily doubles, two hours at a whack, giving all the contenders a chance to perform at their best. Taylor said he’s been impressed with the first week of tryouts, as the energy level is high, intense and spirited.
The Vikings open its season on Sept. 11 with an away game against Gig Harbor. Taylor said on any given game all the teams in the league are going to be tough.
“I want these kids to believe in each other and if these kids do believe in each other I believe that good teams can do great things,” he said. “I do believe this is one of those teams.”
The Vikes first home match is at 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 13 against Central Kitsap.