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October 2, 2013

New coach, entirely new roster beginning rebuild with Ferndale soccer

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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New coach, entirely new roster beginning rebuild with Ferndale soccer
Ferndale junior keeper Connor Wilson dives to make a save during a Sept. 25 practice. Like almost the entire roster, Wilson is a player that could return to the varsity squad in 2014.

FERNDALE — He was hired roughly a week before the season began.

And with that, the steps needed to officially begin the rebuild were in place.

In terms of wins and losses, it’s been a tough fall season for the Ferndale High soccer team.

Seven times the guys had taken the field at press time, and just once had they exited victorious.

This, though, matters very little to first-year head coach Curt Traynor.

Wins and losses will be an essential focal point in the future, but building toward the future is the only goal now.

“Each game is about getting these kids a little more confident,” Traynor said last week. “We’re also working on all the fundamentals of the game — many things these guys just aren’t familiar with right now.”

Traynor isn’t new to Ferndale. He spent time as a junior varsity coach and varsity assistant four years ago. Since then, he’s been coaching travel and recreational soccer, but he saw the vacancy with the varsity squad as a chance to jump back into the high school scene.

He’s doing so headfirst into a challenge he welcomes.

“Last year’s team graduated 12 seniors,” he said with a laugh. “This is the first time in a while the program doesn’t have a junior varsity team, and the varsity squad has just three returning guys. We have two seniors, but both are new to the team. This is, essentially, last year’s junior varsity team.”

Which is why focusing on the win-loss record would do very little for the Eagles right now.

Instead, Traynor said he’s building, the team, the program and — he hopes — the future.

“You look at some of the good teams out there, and they have their feeder programs and they work all year long,” he said. “That’s my plan. I want to finish this season out strong, and then work all winter with these guys and have a good group coming back in the spring.”

Familiarity, he hopes, will be essential.

“When you start to learn about each other, and how everybody plays and what the strengths of the team are, that’s when you can start focusing on having better seasons. That’s the goal. Build this season, and then start improving on it as early as next year.”

It’s an advantage, he added, knowing that nearly the entire roster can return.

“And I’ve already talked to some other kids in the school who are interested in being part of it next year,” Traynor added. “That’s the approach we have to have. These guys are going to get better with time. I’ve already seen it. From one game to the next, the progression is already there.”

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