EATON — Matt Money is back to help the Eaton boys soccer team return to prominence in the Southwestern Buckeye League.
“Last season, the players learned about soccer concepts,” Money said. “We were young, we got better, we earned some respect. We won one tournament (game) and now we are worried more about winning and taking charge of the game. The baptism is now over and now we need to get better. We are changing he mindset and this year there are more expectations.”
Four players have graduated from last year’s team which went 4-10-3, and 1-8-3 in the SWBL Southwestern Division. The team was driven by many of the younger players. The team is still relatively young, and the hunger is there, according to Money.
“Last year, we tied a few games we probably should not have. Now we have four seniors, many sophomores. No JV team this year, but that will not diminish our expectations,” Money said.
“Todd is one of our seniors. Brandon Mohamed is an outside midder who is pretty fast. He’s going to need to find the net for us. Coleman (Manning) didn’t play last year but played two years ago. (He) is a hungry and mean defender. Dan Howard was our team Player of the Year last year as a junior and was first team All-SWBL Southwestern Division, a district all-star, and will be (at) midfield. He is a very talented player and we are looking for big things out of him.”
Nate Gard and James Howard are sophomores who earned All-SWBL honorable mention as freshmen.
“Nate is a technical player who can distribute the ball,” Money said. “Grant Sullender, a junior, can play multiple positions. Owen Baumann is an outsider in one of our formations, and Braydon Beachler will anchor the defense. Tucker Wilt is very versatile who can play almost any position, and Steven Perry is an all-around subtle player. You will see him rock the world and he’s a good header. He gets the job done. Chris Hudgel is our goalkeeper from last year (and) dangerous player up top. John Altom is a holding middle and goalkeeper. These are all my returning lettermen, with 17 total players on the roster.”
Money is excited about this season and the direction of the program.
“We have players coming up in the next several years — we have quite a program going on here,” Money said. “We have a ‘300’ mentality here. You have to bring your A game every match or we will be destroyed. We want revenge on a few teams who stole a victory from us last year.”
Money is counting a few new players to contribute as well.
“Tyler Early is a natural athlete, who broke his wrist, but he’s getting better and better,” Money added. “He’s about the only new player on the team,” Money said.
Other additions to the roster include Evan Mitchell, Mason Smith, and Noah Towe coming up from the JV last year.
“I started in 1987, left in 2000 and came back last year,” Money said. “I came back because there was an opportunity to rebuild the program and here I am. I don’t believe that opponents will take us seriously but that’s fine with me,” he said.
Eaton opened their 2016 soccer regular season with its home opener on Saturday, Aug. 20, with a 3-2 loss to Edgewood. They are scheduled to host county rival Preble Shawnee on Thursday.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.