Boys soccer aims for bounceback season


Jon Roth attempts to flick the ball on during the varsity game against Allen on Jan. 19. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. Photo credit to Varsity Views.

Amanda McNatt, Staff Writer

Following a disappointing last season, the boys varsity soccer team hopes to get back on track this year.

After winning only three district games and finishing last in District 6-6A in 2015, team members like senior goalkeeper Jose Madrigal are determined to perform better this season.

“We have to show everyone that last year won’t affect us this year,” Madrigal said. “We need to overcome being the worst team in district last season and come back being the best.”

Junior midfielder Alberto Rodriguez and the rest of the team have started well towards that goal this season, going undefeated in the three game Allen tournament during preseason play.  

“The one goal we all want to achieve is to win our district,” Rodriguez said. “Overall, our major goal for the team this year is definitely to win state.”

Though there have been changes within the team in terms of the playing roster from last season, staffing changes have also occurred. This season will be the first for new head coach  Tex McCullough, who replaced former head coach Doug Adams at the end of last season.

McCullough, who previously served as the junior varsity head coach and assistant varsity coach at Plano East, attended and played varsity soccer at Plano for three seasons before moving onto the collegiate ranks.

“I went to the University of Michigan on a full ride and played there for a couple of years,” McCullough said. “I ended up blowing out my knee a few times and then went to Midwestern State University and had a good career there.”

McCullough and the team began District 6-6A play with a win and a draw before losing to Flower Mound, Plano West and most recently drawing 0-0 versus Plano East. The win came against Hebron, a team then-ranked fourth in the state by Top Drawer Soccer, giving McCullough a notable victory in his first district game as head coach.

“We want to play together as a team, not individuals,” McCullough said. “We need to stay focused each game and try to get better together.”

Players like Rodriguez have noticed a change in the team’s confidence level since the arrival of McCullough.

“I feel like we have a new energy with him as our coach,” Rodriguez said. “He inspires us and gets us energized to play.

During fall practices, the team focused on improving their weaknesses from last season, which marked only the second time in the last decade that the team missed out on the postseason.

“We tried to work on our teamwork and our attacking to help score more,” Madrigal said. “Our defense also looks really good for this season.”

Despite the good start to the season, McCullough has emphasized the difficulty and strength of the competition that the team faces each night in their district.

“We need to play like it’s a championship game every time because if you slip up, it can really affect making the playoffs in this district,” McCullough said. “Every team we face is good enough to be a playoff team.”