Pioneer kickers jump out to quick start

August 30, 2018

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

The Clare varsity soccer team has already played in several matches this fall. The most notable was Tuesday’s 8-0 win at Northern Michigan Soccer League foe Burt Lake. Veteran Pioneer coach Doug Helmling hopes to see plenty of victories for his squad this year.

“The team has an excellent level of intensity during training, which usually leads to good things once the season gets moving,” he said. “There are many new faces, but also a returning core that can help integrate the young talent. Every season is a journey to establish a system that matches the players and their styles.”
Returning from last year’s team that went 12-10-2 are seniors Aidan Boyd (forward, led team in goals and assists, school record holder in assists), Caleb Camp (defense), Jake Hawley (midfield), Ethan Cobb (goalkeeper), Ben Yob (defense), Nathan Allen (defense), Charles Helmling (defense) and junior Alec Hoffman (midfield).

“Soccer is a sport where everyone has to do his job,” Helmling said. “Boyd is building on his career assist record with every additional assist and he is closing in on the career goal scoring mark as well, but these aren’t achieved without the team working together. Everyone on the team is focused on doing his part to help the team win.”

Joining the team is senior Eric Huang (defense) along with juniors Josh Camp (midfield, goalkeeper), Alan Winter (midfield), Craig Humphrey (defense), Sabin Humphrey (midfield) and Skyler Sunday (defense).

“Some of the things we are doing is focusing on fundamentals and building team chemistry,” Helmling said. “A team needs to have all the players moving in sync, and this process takes time and patience.”

While Tuesday’s lopsided win over Burt Lake kicked off the conference season, Helmling knows that his Pioneers have a long road ahead of them.

“In the Southern Division, Gladwin has been the top team for the last few years and McBain Northern Michigan Christian is usually a top team too,” he said. “The season is early and any team can make a run at this point. Our team goals are to take each match one at a time and prepare for a deep run in district play. Along the way, if we regain our southern division title that would be great too. We have some great talent on this year’s squad and some excellent young players on our junior varsity team could see some quality minutes during the season.”

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