Source: Sherman Publications

Booters set sights on winning districts

August 29, 2012

By Curtis Pulliam

Leader Intern

Oxford boys soccer head coach John Thaler is eager to find out if history will repeat itself in the 2012 season.

“I see us doing pretty well in districts since we are hosting again this year,” Thaler said. “This is the first time since 2006 that we have hosted districts and the last time we hosted, we won the whole thing and went on to do pretty well in regionals. I would be very happy if that were to happen again this year.”

Thaler would be ecstatic if history does repeat even though the team lost a few key players from last season due to graduation.

“Last year we did pretty well, finishing third out of seven teams with an 11-7-2 record,” said Thaler. “We did lose in the first round of districts to Davidson, who ended up going to the district final.”

“As far as players we lost due to graduation, one of them was Benny Magdaleno. He was my keeper, he did an outstanding job last year with some huge saves in key games, and he was one of my captains,” said Thaler. “Another one of my captains who was a huge loss was Doug Klimbal. He was a second-year starting captain and he did very well last year. He will be truly missed as well.”

However, Thaler did acknowledge he is returning some great players that can lead this year’s squad to make the goal of winning the districts again a reality.

“To start off we have senior Josh Nelson, Josh played defense last year and did a superb job,” Thaler said. “But he also wears many hats and he will be replacing Benny in goal. On his club team, that is his traditional spot so it’s not out of sorts for him.”

However, Nelson was not the only returning player Thaler spoke in high regards about. “Zach Hinman, a senior, is a returning defensemen and a great player so I’m looking for some more great things out of him,” Thaler said. “Also, we have a returning forward, senior Paul Tomaka. I kind of liken him to stealth bomber, he’s very discrete, very unassuming, but as soon as he gets that ball on his feet or takes a shot people are aware he’s there.”

As for a surprise performance candidate, Thaler named another senior.

“Any player can have a game changing goal or defensive play but one player who has been under the radar is senior Jacob Wysocki,” said Thaler. “He’s a multi-sport athlete and he can play with the best them so I think Jacob may have one of those years where he breaks out and do unbelievable things for us.”

Even with a few solid returning upperclassmen, Thaler knows the regular season and the road to a district championship will not be an easy one.

“West Bloomfield is always a tough team, they have some quality players,” Thaler said. “And another team that always gives us trouble but we got a handle on it is Farmington Hills Harrison.

They got some explosive players themselves and I think our biggest problem with them is being able to contain some of their key players but I think we’ll do ok against them. But those two teams are some really good adversaries.”

The division maybe a tough one but Thaler still believes his team has what it takes to win it.

“I told the boys we have a really good shot at winning our division and if you keep the mindset that you can achieve this, you will,” said Thaler. “These guys are really a good tight knit bunch and they work really well together.”