Boys soccer caps off difficult season
By Kyle Salomon,
Before the soccer season began in early March, the Mustang boys soccer team had high expectations. Those high expectations centered around competing for a district title and making a deep playoff run, and even possibly competing for a state championship.
However, offensive struggles and losing three one-goal matches have ended the Broncos season with a 4-9 regular season record and a third straight year of no playoffs for boys soccer in Mustang.
Mustang head coach Jared Homer said while this season was filled with disappointment and frustration, there are a lot of positives to take away in heading toward the future.
“It was a tough year for sure,” he said. “Our record doesn’t tell the whole story by any means. This group has fought and battled hard for three years now. This was the third straight year we have only had three seniors on the squad who contributed big minutes the year before. This group was fun to coach and I enjoyed watching them grow from a 1-12 record to competing with everyone we played.”
The Broncos will lose five seniors off this year’s squad. Dalton Eldredge, Colton Haskin, Alex Schilke, Micah Hinton and Colton Hadlock will all be moving from Mustang High School at the end of this month, but they definitely will not be forgotten.
“This group had every reason to throw in the towel two years ago,” Homer said. “They pushed hard and created change through effort. They were one win away the past two years from going to the playoffs. They can definitely be proud of that. Some of them set the bar high as far as talent and that bar needs to continue to be raised.”
Homer said self-evaluation is always something he does following the season trying to figure out how he can be better as a coach, and what he can learn from his mistakes.
“Of course we look back and think of things we could have done differently,” he said. “That is part of the job. We were in every game this season. We lost three matches by one goal apiece. We lost one in a shootout and lost another one when we had a late lead. Sure, we could have executed better as a team, but ultimately it comes back on me and having them ready to go night-in and night-out. We are almost there as a program. We have to see that and keep pushing.”
Homer said no matter how the season turns out, good or bad, learning something from the experience of the year should always occur.
“We learned that everything matters, everything,” he said. “Little things are just as important as big things, sometimes more important. If you do the little things right all of the time, it puts you in a good position to win games. We have to get better at keeping the big goal in mind while we focus hard on doing the little things correctly.”
Unlike in other sports, the level of play across the state in boys soccer is on the rise. Homer said the number of really good players and really good teams is off the charts right now.
“Talent level was high all across the board for sure,” he said. “Everyone is good and everyone can play. We have to maintain a high level of play regardless of the competition. Again, we were in the majority of our games and just need to keep making strides in the right direction. Being ‘in’ games is not good enough and our team knows that. We want to win, plain and simple, we won’t stop until we get to that point.”