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August 20, 2014

After losing 14 players, Lakers take on new look as season begins

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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West Bloomfield High’s Grant Gloceri kicks the ball during a practice last week. Gloceri is a sophomore with a year of varsity experience.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — For years, he’s had teams dominated by seniors.

For years, Jason Clark has known the other shoe would eventually have to drop.

In 2014, he’s lacing up for the soccer season with a young roster on the rebuild.

“We’re in that rebuilding mode right now,” Clark, the West Bloomfield High soccer coach, said last week of his squad. “But I’m pretty excited, to be honest. We’ve had a very strong junior varsity team the past few years, and now these guys have a chance to really shine. They have full control of a new team.”

The Lakers were 9-7 a year ago, but then said farewell to 12 seniors and two more players who moved on to play academy soccer.

In total, 14 players, including nine starters, are gone from the 2013 squad, but Clark still expects to field a competitive team.

“This isn’t a team that expects to struggle early on,” Clark said. “We have some very good, young talent, along with six seniors coming back that are going to keep this team together. Right now, it’s all about us getting everything on the same page.”

Clark said the team’s midfield and forward play should be the strengths, as will goalkeeper Skylar Jeppesen.

The junior goalie split time as a starter last year before injuring his ankle.

“The biggest adjustment right now is getting used to all the new faces, meshing as a team from the start,” Clark added. “In years past, we’ve had big chunks of kids that played together forever. Now we have little pockets of kids from different grades. But this is something I’m excited about. We’re working for now and the future.”

This will be one of the youngest teams Clark has ever worked with, but he said the chance for these players to leave their mark is something he’s looking forward to.

“Giving the kids the opportunity they have now is pretty cool,” he said. “They haven’t had that chance in the past with all the seniors classes we’ve had. Now they are kind of coming out from behind the scenes. Now it’s their turn.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.