Loaded with talent, 'Jacks soccer is poised for success
CLOQUET - It's safe to say that Archie Clark is keyed up about the upcoming season with his Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team. And so are the players. A total of 57 soccer-enthusiastic boys turned out at Hilltop Park Monday morning in Cloquet...
CLOQUET - It's safe to say that Archie Clark is keyed up about the upcoming season with his Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team.
And so are the players.
A total of 57 soccer-enthusiastic boys turned out at Hilltop Park Monday morning in Cloquet for the first day of tryouts. According to Clark, they were ready to go.
"There's a lot of excitement around here for soccer," said the sixth-year head coach. "These kids love to play and are having a lot of fun. There's a lot of interest in the
Many are familiar to Clark, who has watched them play countless games throughout the summer.
"I've seen almost all of these kids play this summer, and they've seen me out here, too," he said. "They're learning a lot of skills and are really developing their game."
That dedication in the summer has led CEC to become quite gifted.
"It's hard to tell how they will gel, but there's a lot of talent around here," Clark said. "We have a pretty lean senior class returning, but we have a loaded junior class with a lot of skill."
CEC finished at 9-9-1 a year ago and claimed third placed in the grueling Lake Superior Conference behind Duluth Marshall and champion Hermantown.
The 'Jacks were clipped by Chisago Lakes in the Section 7A quarterfinals, when the Wildcats won a heartbreaking 3-2 shootout.
CEC lost eight seniors from a year ago, yet have roughly 10 players returning with varsity experience. Clark is optimistic about this fall on the pitch.
"We'll have to wait to see how it plays out, because there are always a lot of variables throughout the year," he said. "I thought we would score more goals last year, but we just didn't."
Instead CEC relied on defense.
"We defended pretty darn well last year," Clark continued. "We're going to have to regenerate a defense this season."
Their offense will be as tough as ever.
"I think again we're going to score some goals; we've got some real big strong guys who are going to play up front," said Clark. "It's just question of how many we'll keep out of the goal."
CEC opens competition Saturday at Hilltop Park when they host scrimmages at 9 a.m. They'll then take part in the LSC Jamboree Tuesday before heading to Proctor for their season-opener at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26.
"I love game day," laughed Clark. "We made a good run a few years ago to the Final Four and I think we're kind of looking that way again this year."