VYPE U: New Caney Soccer Has Playoff Potential
With soccer season officially underway, the New Caney Eagles have made their mark. Last season the boys were potentially playoff-bound but, due to COVID, the rest of their season, including the playoffs, was canceled.
Head Coach Brett Crawford is heading into his second season as the head coach. He is especially looking forward to watching his senior class as they have stepped into both offensive and defensive roles. Both on and off the field they have led by example and continue to grow as individuals and as a whole. His senior class is composed of 11 students. They are never afraid to go the extra mile and are very focused on becoming better on both offense and defense.
"Whether it is watching and learning from film, making sure all the little things are done, or giving it that extra amount of effort during the games, these guys do it," Coach Crawford said. "Due to their maturity, we have the confidence we can compete with the best teams in any game. The senior class this year truly act like young men. They focus only on how to improve and unite the team."
COVID has been a drag to every single sports team, and soccer has been no different. However, Coach Crawford believes it brought every single member on the team a lot closer, and made them cherish their time together.
With the new alignment in the district, both Dayton and Cleveland have been added to the team's schedule. Alongside reigning district champions Kingwood Park.
"We respect all of our opponents but fear nobody," Coach Crawford said. "We look at each game in our district as a playoff game. In an eight-team district as competitive as ours, there are no nights off. I have a tremendous amount of respect for [the] coaches that lead their teams in our district. The bottom line is they know what they are doing and that makes me want to be an even better coach each day."
With a tremendous district win against the Lake Creek Lions, the Eagles showed what they are capable of. Never giving up and always giving 100 percent until that clock hits zero. Coach Crawford describes it as a classic first district game. From a fan's point of view, New Caney will be a fun team to watch, Coach Crawford explains. Having solid club players with diversity and many skill levels has helped contribute to that. The boys won their first district game by a score of 4-3. Both Angel Hernandez and Miguel Rodriguez scored two goals each that night.
Hernandez will be a key component to this year's lineup on the offensive side as a left-wing. With only four games played into the season, the senior has collected 11 goals and two assists. He is averaging 2.8 goals per game as well as 0.5 assists per game.
"This being my senior year I have big hopes and aspirations for our team. On my four years of varsity this is by far the best team I've been a part of," Hernandez said. "Everyone gets along well and we all have one thing in common, which is wanting to win. We have the talent and potential to accomplish big things this year and now we just have to put our plans into action."
Switching gears over to Rodriquez. He's collected six goals and two assists as well. While only being a sophomore, there is definitely potential to watch him grow as he develops into a great ballplayer in the next two seasons. Rodriguez is averaging 1.5 goals per game as well as 0.5 assists per game.
"This is my sophomore year and I'm very excited. I see a lot of potential in this team," Rodriguez said. "Our chemistry has increased a lot in and out of the pitch, during the last couple of months. I'm very excited for what's coming up in the next few months for this team."
While Coach Crawford didn't want to sound cliche, he believes every member on his team is a key player. Soccer is very much a team sport. No role is more important than the other. You can't have a good goalie if your defense doesn't do their job. If we are looking at statistics, Hernandez and Rodriquez will both be players to keep an eye on, as they are producing the most goals so far.
"If you are talking about goals and assists, I would anticipate Angel Hernandez and Miguel Rodriguez to be our top producers this season," Coach Crawford said. "But, these players know they can't do it by themselves. I could essentially name our whole roster but those two are the 'stars'."
On defense, you have Diego Leos and Edgar Rodriguez who Coach Crawford sees as the anchors alongside goalie Fernando Rodriguez. All the players have been leading the defensive side and are aggressive players towards their opponents, like Hargrave High School.
"For young players, I have high future expectations for Fernando Saldana and Jaime Sandoval. Again, I could really name the whole roster," Coach Crawford said. "This is a great group that I have the blessing of coaching."
While qualifying for the playoffs is always the number one goal, New Caney wants to establish a legacy and make a run for State, taking it one game at a time.
"The least we can do with that opportunity is to use it to make ourselves and the people around us better," Coach Crawford said. "I expect my captains, Edgar Rodriguez, Diego Leos, Miguel Rodriguez, to be the coach out on the field, in the locker room, and the classroom."
What Coach Crawford is establishing at New Caney is discipline and a legacy, making sure his team is always ready and has no regrets.
"We have our four rules: 1. Do Your Job. 2. Be Attentive. 3. Focus on Details. 4. Put the Team First," Coach Crawford said.
With his second season as head coach underway, playoffs should fall into the mix.
"As a coach, you never want to be overly confident or pessimistic," Coach Crawford said. "You truly have to take things on a game-by-game basis. We believe in ourselves and our team. We know we can compete with excellent opposition. I fully believe we should be in the mix for the playoffs and our road ahead will prepare us for the playoffs, if we do everything we need to earn a spot."