Young squad looks to build on returning players experience

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

There’s a new face roaming the sidelines for the East Troy boys soccer program this fall.

But he’s not an unfamiliar one.

Former assistant Aaron Judd takes over as the head coach from Nick Datka, who left East Troy to become the head coach at Mukwonago.

And he can’t wait to get things going.

“I am excited how positive the guys have been to start the season and the trust and belief they have in me has made this transition as smooth as it could have been,” Judd said.

“It’s not always easy to bring in new coaches, especially for the seniors on the team. They have been open-minded throughout the process and always positive around the new guys coming in. I believe this truly speaks to the types of leaders we have on this team.”

Judd, a former East Troy player himself, said he’s honored to be able to give something back to the program as a coach.

“Growing up, sports were my life,” he said. “This soccer program was one of the reasons I am the man I am today. I am beyond excited to be a high school head coach, but more excited to be doing it in East Troy where I had the opportunity to play.

“I am thrilled to have the team we do, and hopefully, over the next few years, we are able to build a program that consists of both JV and varsity teams who are able to compete at the highest of levels.”

A young group

Judd inherits a young squad, as the Trojans have just four seniors on the roster, led by tri-captains Denver Roberts (defense), Eli Leising (defense) and Justin Carstens (midfielder). The other senior is Ben Zess (midfielder).

Finding a way to mesh those with experience to the others without will be a key to success, Judd said.

“We have a lot of experience in our defensive line and a lot of youth who love to attack on the offensive side,” he said. “As soon as we are able to build some chemistry as a whole team, I believe we will be a team to look out for in our conference.”

Helping that process will be an important role for the captains, Judd added.

“Their role is to make sure their teammates around them understand their roles and are carrying them out efficiently in any game or practice,” he said. “They need to give extra encouragement to the freshman class and take them under their wing. Young athletes can learn a lot from their upper class teammates both during team activities and in school.”

Joining the four seniors on the varsity roster are juniors Max Mullins (defense), Ben Biersack (midfielder/forward), Quinn Erdmann (midfielder) and Tommy Hanson (defense/midfielder); sophomores D.J. Fierst (forward), Caleb Edwards (forward/midfielder), Hunter Cliffgard (forward/midfielder) and Patrick Busch (goalie); and freshmen Connor Erdmann (forward/midfielder), Alex Suhm (forward/midfielder), Nico Erman (midfielder), Michael Schaefer (midfielder), Ryan Lamping (forward), Jacob Stroh (defense) and Brady Dessart (defense).

RVC outlook

The race toward the Rock Valley Conference title appears to start with McFarland, which enters the state ranked fourth in Division 3.

But from there, where the rest of the field falls into place is far from a certainty, Judd said.

“Outside of McFarland … the RVC will be pretty competitive across the board this year,” he said. “We will have some good battles this season, which is why the chemistry piece will be so important to our success as a team.”

Looking at his team, Judd said he has set three goals for 2017 – to finish above .500, to place in the top half of the RVC and to win a regional crown.

“Coming into the season with such a young team will mean we have to battle in each and every game, but I have confidence in the guys that I am coaching and believe they will continue to give it all throughout the season,” Judd said.

Judd added that where his team is at the moment likely will be very different than the one that ends the season later this fall.

“We will see a lot of growth, both on the individual and team levels and could be a team to look out for in the postseason,” he said.

Assisting Judd is Ryan Erdmann, who has coached at the club level the past several seasons.

“He is positive and able to look at things from a different angle,” Judd said. “I am excited to work with him and know that he will bring a lot to the table.”

East Troy opened its season last week with a 3-1 loss to Watertown Luther Prep. The Trojans traveled to Cambridge on Tuesday, and will host Big Foot Thursday, Sept. 7, at 4:45 p.m.

 
 

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