Falcon coach eager for season to begin

  • Written by Derek Johnson
Andrew Croft sounded fired up. And why not? The second year coach of the Woodinville Falcons has a young and talented squad on his hands. 
soccer 2017Pop Keeney Stadium will soon be busy again with weeknight soccer games – like this image from last season. (Photo by Derek Johnson) “This year we’re definitely going to be more of a team,” Croft said. “We’re looking to be mentally strong, physically strong. We have a team with a soccer IQ that is really high. The team got a taste of what they were capable of last year.”
In his first season as coach, Croft led Woodinville to an 10-7-2 record. The highlight of the season was a 2-1 win over Skyline on October 10. The Falcons came within one win of reaching State.
But as with all transitions, there was an adjustment period.
“The seniors had done things for two years in a row in a way that had worked for them,” Croft said. “I think they really wanted to do the same thing [into last season]. But based on the talent and what we had, we couldn’t do what they had done the previous two years... We tried a formation that some of the seniors weren’t used to. So we had to change up what we were doing.”
Team tryouts are on August 20th. Competition will be fierce. Croft will monitor which players are givng full effort. He emphasizes to them that hard work pays off. “The ones that worked hard last year got the opportunity [to play],” Croft said. “And I’d like to see it show this year in tryouts.”
The Lady Falcons will be led by senior midfielder Isabel Chauls and sophomore center back Lexi Fulkerson. 
The schedule has some interesting twists. Due to Redmond returning to Kingco 4A, every league team will play each other just once. And far-flung teams like Union and Sumner will make the northward journey to play Woodinville.
“Our AD Cathy Boyce and I both agree we like to get as much out of [local area] experience as possible,” Croft said. “This will give us the opportunity to see what some of the other conferences around the state have. And what we will be battling against if we get that far (in the State playoffs). And just the experience of going against teams they’ve never faced before.” 
Croft has spent the summer formulating new formations, based on the strengths of his returning players. “We’re going to have a lot of fun this year,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunities to try different things and try different people at different positions. We are pretty diverse and deep.”

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