For the 2017-2018 Lassen High School boys’ soccer season, head coach Johan Kampfraat, assistant coach Matt Shirley and assistant coach Jason Martin will be mainly focusing on fitness and technical application when guiding the many Grizzly athletes on the field.
Kampfraat said, “We plan on being a second half team. When the opponents are tired, we will be still keeping the drive and energy levels up for the full 90 minutes.”
The Grizzly boys began practicing for the season after tryouts were held Nov. 16. After watching the boys work together and compete in scrimmages, the Lassen High coaches have set the bar for this year’s league play decently high.
Kampfraat said, “I have high expectations this year of these players and I know the quality that they can bring, I have excellent players on every part of the field.”
Kampfraat then continued to address some of the key players on the varsity team.
He commented, “Our goalkeeper Ethan Heffner is no doubt one of the best keepers in our league and this year he will only be better; he controls the defense and isn’t afraid to speak up when the team needs it and is always aggressive.”
Kampfraat later said, “We have, in my opinion, the best defender in the league, Dustin Morgan, who is a captain this year.”
Regarding Morgan, Kampfraat commented on the many qualities that led the Grizzly to be named one of the 2017-2018 captains. According to Kampfraat, Morgan shows strength, leadership, drive passion and a desire to be involved with the ball both offensively and defensively. Additionally, Kampfraat said Morgan is consistently willing to play a full 90 minutes every game of the season without fail.
“We are very lucky to have a player like Dustin to lead this team this year and I expect nothing but great things from him all season,” he said.
Kampfraat later said, “Then we come to the heart and glue of this team, Anthony Wagner. I don’t think Lassen has ever had a player with such skill and knowledge of the game. His touch is unmatched with anyone in our league; his ability to read the field and to either be the play-maker or make the play is unstoppable. He motivates and brings out the best in all the players around him and he always is helping others with technique and their abilities. He will be a force to reckon with this season.”
Finally, Kampfraat shifted his attention to the attacking half of the field. According to Kampfraat, there is a great set of players with the skills and speed to effectively shoot into the net and keep pressure on the opposing defense consistently throughout the games.
He said, “Ryan Williams has the touch, Derek Anderson has the speed and Dominic Sullivan is always there to support the attacking half.” Those three Grizzlies in specific work well together to make the transition between offense and defense much smoother.
“I, myself, am very proud of what these boys have given me so far in the small time we have had practice and I cant wait to get this season started,” Kampfraat stated.
The Grizzlies saw their first preseason tournament this past weekend at Foothill High School with games against Chico and Foothill on Friday, Dec. 1 and one against Central Valley Saturday, Dec. 2. Results will be published in the Tuesday, Dec. 12 issue.
Lassen will be hosting their first league game Jan. 9 against U-Prep. Until then, the Grizzlies are scheduled to play against Red Bluff and Oroville to truly warm up for the start of league.