GCM head boys soccer coach William Freeman is holding his program’s summer camp and over 110 have attended – both boys and girls – and the excitement is apparent.
The coach notes that recent success for his program and crosstown rivals Robert E. Lee has offered the sport a chance to gain more and more converts.
“(Girls coach Roman) Huizar and I are able to create an environment that encourages all ages of the youth to come out,” Freeman said. “The participation taking place at camp is a reflection of interest for soccer in Baytown.
“Each year, the numbers have grown. It was not too long ago that we had less than 20, and now we have over 100. That is due to the coaching staff’s persistence and finding new ways to reach the community.”
The camp, featuring incoming fourth to ninth-graders, divides the attendees by age group and this creates a semblance of even competition and comfort while learning.
“We want the campers to feel welcome and have fun during their time,” Freeman said. “The older campers play a bit more physical and are more competitive, so it is fun to watch as a coach. It is also fun to watch the younger campers be successful when given an objective.”
One thing that has helped GCM is their steady level of competitiveness and postseason successes over the past handful of years.
“My time at GCM has proved to be successful and has set a standard for other programs in Baytown,” Freeman said. “We have played in 14 playoff games and won eight of them, and that does not include the playoff appearances prior to my time here. That includes two years at the 6A level. I believe Baytown is a soccer town, but we have a responsibility to the community to give them a reason to support the sport.”
One thing Freeman isn’t shy about doing is looking back at his most recent Patriots squad with pride.
“I appreciate the hard work the boys put in to get the program there,” he said. “I have a very small part in it. At the end of the day, the boys are the ones that have to work hard and execute the game plan. I saw a lot of growth for players as the season progressed. I was fortunate to coach that group for over 20 games this year.”
Now it’s on to 2020.
“One challenge will be replacing the 12 seniors that graduated,” Freeman said. “Another problem is complacency. Several varsity players demonstrated poor work ethic during the off season after our season came to an end. It will be an opportunity for JV players to step up and opens the door for incoming freshmen. I will play whoever represents the program the best, so no one’s spot is safe.”