After just missing out on a postseason spot a year ago, the Crosby boys soccer program is ready to get back to business in becoming a playoff threat.
Nathan Helburg is ready for a 23rd season in charge of the Cougars after finishing the 2019 campaign with a 12-9-4 overall mark but only 4-8-2 in District 22-5A play.
The biggest positive for Helburg is that his team has nine starters back in the fold to take advantage of all lessons learned during the previous campaign.
“Our team chemistry and morale are the strengths of this team,” Helburg said. “We need to improve our confidence after having a rough season last year.”
Helburg can start that rebuild through defender Jonny Encinia, who was named All Region 3, and first-team all-district players Steven Godinez (16 goals) and Carlos Enamorado (five goals, seven assists).
“I don’t think we didn’t make the playoffs because we weren’t good, but I think it was a year for us to get some chemistry,” Godinez said. “Most of our team was young, but this year is going to be our year.”
Godinez noted that the younger roster had some troubles at times matching up on a physical level a year ago and that thwarted any hopes of a playoff run.
“It was doubt for us playing against bigger players,” Godinez said. “We had to find something like our speed or possessing the ball to get around them and that is something I think we have gained. It wasn’t a major issue. It was more of a lack of experience.”
The team’s focus on taking their mental game to a higher level is also a work in progress.
“We learned that we needed to be hungrier for wins and be more serious,” Enamorado said. “We have been playing for four years now and some have even played club so our chemistry should be even stronger.
“We are focusing more on getting more touches on the ball.”
Midfielder William Salazar is a promising newcomer that Helburg is also banking on this winter and spring.
“We are in a very tough district, but we feel we can compete for a playoff spot,” Helburg said.