Archbold boys soccer will do some rebuilding this year, but the Bluestreaks have a solid foundation back to allow them to compete for a Northwest Ohio Athletic League title.
The Streaks return a total of 66 goals from last season. Returning letter winners are Josh Kidder (NWOAL POY, District POY, first team All-Ohio), Andrew Hogrefe (first team All-NWOAL, second team all-district), Clay Gerig, Cameron Collins, Elijah Zimmerman, Chase Kohler (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Sonson Nafziger, and Trey Theobald (honorable mention All-NWOAL).
“For the second straight year, we will be rebuilding our defense almost completely,” said head coach Sean Stewart on his outlook for the season. “That said, there are talented players there. We expect to see them gain experience and cohesiveness as the season goes on. Our real strength is in the attacking part of our game. We return a lot of players capable of scoring and creating goals, notably three seniors in Josh Kidder, Andrew Hogrefe, and Clay Gerig. With junior Elijah Zimmerman and sophomore Trey Theobald, we have legitimate goal-threats all over the pitch. It will be key for us to create as many attacking opportunities as possible while playing consistent team defense. Entering the season, our big concern is depth. We plan to use the early part of the season to develop that depth in our reserve squad.”
However, the Streaks will have to replace production left behind by 10 departed letter winners. Gone are Kaiden Bedsole (first team All-NWOAL, first team all-district), Connor Hagans (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Denver Beck (first team All-NWOAL, second team all-district), Nick Waidelich (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Trevan Kindinger (second team All-NWOAL), Luke McQuade (second team All-NWOAL), Lucas Yoder (honorable mention All-NWOAL), Caleb Wooley (second team All-NWOAL), Daniel Nieves, and Josh Richardson.
Newcomers to the squad will be important to the team’s success this season.
“Expect goal-keeper Noah Cheney to have a solid season after two years of reserve experience,” said Stewart. “Also, expect big contributions from juniors Devin Witte and Ethan Hagans. A few others expected to earn some varsity minutes are senior Jarrett Waidelich, juniors Josiah Magallanes and Josiah Kindinger, and sophomore Miles Rupp. However, there are a few other reserve players that will have the opportunity to play their way into varsity minutes as well.”
Last season, Archbold finished 16-2-1, won the NWOAL, and was district runner-up. They expect to compete for a league title yet again, but it will be a tough race.
“We expect to contend for the NWOAL title, but know there are legitimate threats from a historically strong Bryan program, as well as a Liberty Center program that has begun to mature,” explained Stewart.
Archbold hosts Fort Jennings Saturday at 10 a.m. to begin the season.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010