by Clellie Allen
WAKE FOREST — In his three years at the helm of Wake Forest High boys soccer, coach Jeremiah Mattingly is putting forth what he feels is the most even team he’s had.
“We have 12 seniors this year and I’m excited about that, Mattingly said. “This will be the most consistent team I’ve had. I’ve had some big time players in the past three years, but this will be the most consistent.”
Mattingly pointed to setting some simple goals early as helping his team prepare for the new season. “We set the tone to work hard every day and get better every day,” he said. “That’s our short term goal for now.”
While being in the Raleigh area means being able to draw on the strength of area soccer clubs — like that of Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) — it also means playing against other teams that also have those resources to draw on.
Additionally, coaches have to utilize what the system provides.
“College coaches have their system and recruit for that system,” Mattingly said. “In high school, you develop your system around the players you have. It’s like a puzzle — all the pieces (players) are in the box and you’ve got to figure out where they go. It’s interesting and fun — you start new and that makes it exciting,” he said.
This year, Mattingly has quicker, but smaller players, averaging around 5 foot 10 inches.
“We will have to work a little harder to cover the corner kicks,” he said.
“I’m optimistic — these are a great group of kids. I’ve had some of the seniors since they were freshmen.”