New Milford boys soccer looks to take next step
Published 11:48 am, Wednesday, September 23, 2015
NEW MILFORD — The New Milford boys soccer team has developed over the past few seasons to be considered among the Southwest Conference’s elite. Now the Green Wave just need to get over the hump in the postseason.
Coach Antony Howard is in his fourth season with the Green Wave, who bolted to an 11-0-1 start in 2014 before going 1-2-1 over the final four regular-season games.
After losing in the SWC semifinals, New Milford lost 3-1 to Greenwich in the Class LL second round.
“We had a fantastic regular season. We were regionally and nationally ranked at one point, which was phenomenal,” Howard said. “Really a little bit of inexperience let us down in the postseason.”
For this year’s team, which has 11 seniors on the roster, last year’s disappointment has provided plenty of motivation this season.
“I think we learned a lot from last season and are in good shape,” Howard said. “A bulk of the team is the same. We lost about five senior players and we have been able to refill those spots.”
New Milford won its first three games of the season, two by shutout, before a 1-0 loss at Joel Barlow on Monday.
“We want to win something now,” Howard said. “We had a good year last year but we came away with nothing other than a divisional title. The goal has to be can we at least get ourselves to an SWC final and give ourselves a chance to win it and we can have a good run in the states as well.”
Howard said his team’s depth will be one of its strengths this season. He is carrying 23 players on the varsity roster thanks to the large senior class and the coach’s desire to make sure players who will contribute more in 2016 and beyond have experience.
“I do have a lot of seniors and with that I worry about experience for next year,” Howard said. “I have a large group of juniors and sophomores in the program, and while they all may not get a lot of varsity time this year, it is key that they are in and around to get that experience.”
Howard said the captains have experience and have provided solid leadership.
“The competitiveness in this group is good, even in practice there is that will to win,” he said. “It’s something that has been growing in the group and program for a few years.”