POULSBO — This season, the North Kitsap High School soccer players may have a better chance of surprising the rest of the Narrows League than they’ll have of surprising each other.
The Vikings are senior-laden, and many of the players have played on school and club teams together for years.
“A lot of these kids have played together for so long, I think they’ll be a good team,” said Head Coach Chris Heins. “There aren’t any superstar individual players, so I think they’ll come together.”
Heins said he hopes the players’ experience will translate into a steady style appropriate for an experienced team.
“They’re a really solid group,” he said.
The group had a scrimmage on Saturday, and Heins was encouraged by the way they played. The team will have its first real test on March 14, when it travels to Port Townsend to have a non-league game before facing Bainbridge March 17.
Heins and the rest of the coaching staff will be aided this year by Ted Buffington, who runs Poulsbo-based Achievement By Design, a performance psychology company that helps athletes reach their full potential.
Heins will also be helped by assisted coach Jim Weirth and volunteers Pat Stickney and Craig Smith.
The team has plenty of experience, including starting goalie Brenden Phillips and players Matt Simonson, Sean Heins, Ryan George, Max Sutherland, Donnie Thompson, Reid Ammann, Ross Fenton, Oscar Hernandez and Colton Bangs — all of whom are returning seniors.
Bryce Darrow, a junior, returns from last year, as do Jon Critch and Marc Anderson.
The team also includes Jorge Gonzalez and freshman Taylor Mason, Jacob Stickney and Patrick Moore.
The seniors agreed that the players’ familiarity with each other will lead to wins.
“It creates a bond,” Phillips said. “You trust people with what happens on the field.”
Phillips’ thoughts were echoed by Ammann, who said, “You know guys’ ability, how they’re going to act.”
The players also said that the seniors have been looking forward to this season for years, and they hope to make the most of it; they all want to reach the postseason.
“We’re excited,” said Ammann.
When he was asked what style the team will play, Donnie Thompson replied, “A winning style.”