August 15, 2012 - Kickers hit the grassy field behind Clarkston High School to warm up and get deep into practice on Monday afternoon.
Ryan Callahan works on his foot skills before practice on Monday. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
They have a big week ahead of them as they open the season on Saturday when they head to Traverse City to take on three teams, Traverse City West, Traverse City Central, and Petoskey
"TC West has a pretty good program," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Chuck Lawhorn. "Petoskey is another strong program and TC Central put together can be dangerous. We played all three teams last year and they were really good teams."
He added it is also good for the team to have bonding time, especially when they are playing three games in one day.
The team has 13 returners from last year's team and five of them are seniors. The returners will give a boost to this season.
"We have a good squad returning," Lawhorn said. "We had a younger squad last year and all of those guys got a lot of experience, which I think will help us out going into this year."
He added one of the team's strengths is the skill they have in the midfield, pointing out the experience will help there.
"We had some senior guys in there last year but we had some younger guys that got some time in the middle and got some good experience," Lawhorn explained. "I expect them to take the next step this year and provide good stability on the field."
The boys come off of the weekend with their first home opener against OAA Red foe - Rochester Adams.
"Adams is always a strong program," said Lawhorn. "I expect them to bring their best game. They will be ready as they always are. Year in and year out they are always on top of their game. We need to make sure our guys are ready to challenge them this year for the top spot."
Besides having experience in midfield, the Wolves' depth in every position will help in their game against the Highlanders.
"It will help us in the long run," he added. "Our depth will let us use our subs a lot more as the season drags on and our guys won't be as tired."
He thinks the tournament in Traverse City will prepare the team not only for the Adams game but all the OAA Red games to come.
"For the first-time varsity players, it's good to get their feet wet in a tournament that doesn't involve the OAA," Lawhorn added. "By the time we get back, they will be ready and it will be out of the system. Of course they will be nervous for the first home game. It will give them experience and get the initial shock out of their system."
The boys home opener against Rochester Adams is Tuesday. JV begins at 5:30 p.m. and varsity follows.
"Adams has a fantastic program," Lawhorn said. "We hope to challenge them for the top spot in the league."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.