New coach, new players, same expectations for West girls soccer
Jan. 5, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 4, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.
Their coach has never played the sport and there are only two seniors on the entire team.
On paper, neither would bode well for a soccer program coming off an appearance in the sectional round of the playoffs.
But that just means the players and coaches within the Victoria West girls soccer program will learn together.
James McCarter takes the coaching reins from is wife, Denys, who gave birth to the couple's second child, Jaxon, in early July.
"Just like in any sport, I am always going to try to learn and get better," James McCarter said. "When I was an assistant, I was more of a motivational coach. Now that I am the head coach, I am doing more tactical things and technique.
"I am growing as a coach as the students are growing as players."
Bryana Frazier and Cesia Ramirez are the lone seniors in a program that went 18-4-2 in its inaugural year.
Both will likely occupy a spot in the defense. Ramirez on the right, while Frazier will reside in one of the two central positions.
So long as everyone does their part, the seniors are confident the Warriors will be alright.
Despite their overall inexperience, there are six returning starters from the 2011 team including Brittany Gawlik, Nitziamineth Martinez, Suzanne Ashley and Sarah Warner.
"I think being known as an underdog gives you that motivation to come back and do better and show everyone that they are wrong," Frazier said.
Ramirez added there is no concern within the team about their new coach's credentials. If anything, they, like Frazier said, want to prove that they are good, regardless of which McCarter coaches them.
"It was a surprise to me," Ramirez said. "A lot of us were surprised. To a lot of the girls on varsity last year, there was a big commotion. We were all calling each other.
"When we heard it was going to be McCarter, I was relived it was someone I knew. He has coached me before when I was a freshman on JV. I was kind of nervous, but I knew he would do a good job, and he has."
West will use a 4-4-2 system. Unlike their rivals at East, however, the Warriors will stack their center defenders for yet another element of cover in that area of the field. The protection should help sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Cole as she adjusts to varsity soccer.
"We have to really step up and help people that have less experience so that we can get everyone on the same page in our games and get everyone to focus on practice," Frazier said.
She admits West might not win every game, and they will probably take bumps and bruises throughout the year, but her team will only go as far as their togetherness takes them.