After disappointing campaign, Spartans looking up
PINCONNING – First-year coach Paul Wellman has already made an impact on the Pinconning High School boys’ varsity soccer team, directing a fundraising effort during the off-season that raised approximately $5,000 for the school’s soccer program.
A portion of the money has gone toward the purchase of new team jersey’s and warm-ups, but Wellman’s impact doesn’t stop there.
The former Bay City John Glenn standout intends on turning the program around, one that includes a 1-18 record a year ago.
“We have a whole new attitude, and we are putting the past in the past,” Wellman said. “There is not really a history of winning. It’s a new era and a new program. The kids dedication is through the roof and their motivation is killer.”
Wellman is familiar with getting motivated, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He can also motivate, serving as team captain at John Glenn three-straight seasons, including one when the Bobcats went undefeated in the regular season.
His efforts to turn the Spartans into winners include a new summer conditioning program and more scrimmages.
He also has new assistant coaches to help teach the finer points of the game, something that was lacking in year’s past. “We bring a lot of experience with our coaches and the kids are definitely going to benefit from that,” he said.
A senior and two juniors will serve the Spartans as tri-captains this season, including center/midfielder Mike Hasso, who is entering his fourth season with the team. Juniors David Snell and Steve Nelson round out the captains, with Snell lining up on defense while Nelson will occupy midfield/center slots.
While Wellman expects key contributions from a host of other players, and among them are freshmen Trevor Beck, Jacob Hightower and Cody Gage. Beck and Gage will play on a wing, while Hightower plays forward.
Offensively, Wellman isn’t sure what to expect from his team, and while he waits for that side of the field to develop, he will rely on defense.
“The whole foundation is defense,” Wellman said. “We’ll stack the defense and it’s gonna be really strong this year.
“I’m confident we can keep teams to two goals or less, plus I got a pretty decent goal keeping.”
Overall, the Spartans lack experience, but Wellman believes that works to his advantage.”
“We have a whole, brand-new formation,” he said. “It was basically a recreation team when I got there in May. We’re a young team, and that’s good for me because I get to mold them.”
He is also happy to get the opportunity.
“I’m glad to be up in Pinconning,” Wellman said. “The parents and the kids have been real helpful.”
The Spartans open the 2009 campaign Aug. 27 when they visit Alcona.