LIBERTY — Last season the Liberty North boys soccer team reached the state quarterfinal round, the second time the Eagles advanced that far in their nine years as a program.
As Liberty North enters year 10, the Eagles are focused on developing a consistency of success.
“The former seniors were used to being pretty competitive,” Liberty North coach Art Smith said. “We had to take a step back in order to go from competitive to a situation where we were consistently competitive.”
So after Liberty North topped crosstown rivals Liberty for a district title and advanced past Park Hill to reach the state quarterfinals last season, the Eagles came to a realization.
“If we just learn from our mistakes anything can happen,” senior midfielder Cristian Parada said. “It’s all about our mentality. We can’t let one loss bring us down.”
Liberty North, who finished 14-12 last season, will take that mindset into a new season that calls for replacing eight starters, four first team all-district members, including leading scorer Dylan Posada Caro and goalkeeper Noah Jackson.
“I don’t think anyone knows what to expect,” Smith said. “We haven’t talked about it much, but our goals are to always enjoy the ride, play as hard as we can and play the best we can. … We have a couple people back and some guys that played a lot here and there. We’re going to have to grow in areas that might be uncomfortable at times.”
“The people we’re bringing in will be good,” senior Cole Hadley said. “They’ll work hard and get the job done.”
Smith said the roles of top goal scorer and starting goalkeeper are to be determined.
“It’s up for grabs,” he said of the roles, adding that forwards Thomas Mitchem and Jesse Baker are showing potential and keepers Davis Fulk and Daniel Duffin are battling for minutes at goalie. “We’ve got some guys that can score goals but they’ll probably have to score in a system. I don’t know if we have anybody that’s going to put everybody on their back like Dylan did last year. We’ll have to do it together.”
The program is confident that they can match what they did last year and play its strongest soccer in the later stages of the campaign.
“We’re looking forward to getting things going again,” said Hadley, a midfielder. “It’s been a while since last season and we did well last year. We’re ready.”