By Bill O’Connell
The boys’ soccer program at Evergreen High School is now in its second year of a three-year sanctioning process with a goal of becoming full-fledged members of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League (NWOAL) and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). However, once that process is complete, their goals will become much more ambitious and very lofty.
We are talking league and state title lofty. “I do not believe Evergreen has won a state championship in any of our team sports and I would like to do that with this soccer team,” remarked assistant coach Jared Monroe, son of head coach Ned Monroe. “I told the guys, ‘Why not us?’ These guys have the talent and I plan on taking them far.”
These statements may sound like bravado, especially from a program still in its infancy, but Coach Jared has good reason to feel very confident. “We have ten players that are in U-15 programs that have played together for ten years, since they were in kindergarten,” he explained. “They have played on club teams and travel teams.”
Club and travel programs are generally stocked with talented athletes, experienced coaches and play against tough competition from all around the state and the Great Lakes region. Players coming out of these programs are seasoned and disciplined.
Another reason to be optimistic is that the soccer teams and the football team will be playing on the newly installed artificial turf. This should result in more schools wanting to schedule away games at Evergreen and, hopefully, trigger a boost in enrollment that will help supplement all the Viking athletic teams.
Obviously, there are current players that will have graduated by the time the team receives its sanctioning but they are still on the field giving it all they have. Senior David Moore for example, will be attending Defiance College next fall and majoring in forensics, played soccer growing up but had to stop when he entered high school. “I like it better than football and playing soccer keeps me in shape for the other sports, like baseball,” he said. The presence of upper classmen on the team will accelerate the growth of the program.
The interest in soccer is growing in the Evergreen community with the addition of this boys team and the girls team which began a few years ago. It also offers the students another opportunity to compete on the athletic field and, possibly, earn an athletic scholarship for college.
While the team is in the sanctioning process Coach Ned will run things. The go forward plan, once sanctioned, is for Coach Jared to take over. “I have just as much of a burning passion and love for the game as anyone,” said Jared. And he also has no fear of aiming high with great expectations. In sports, as in life, that is just the way it should be.