Villa Angela-St. Joseph soccer coach K.C. Petraitis admits he has talent on the roster, but he also knows exactly how to describe the 2015 Vikings.
“We are young with a capital Y-O-U-N-G,” Petraitis said.
Hard to argue with the coach’s assessment – numbers never lie.
VASJ enters the season with a roster of 17 players – 14 of which are sophomores or freshmen.
However, the Vikings are not using 2015 as a pure learning or rebuilding season. Petraitis is passionate and convinced that the team as constructed can win now.
Senior goalkeeper Dan Gail is a rock-solid leader in the net. Chad Porter is a multi-talented junior who can score and lead the offensive attack. Matt Bowen is a promising sophomore that will be relied on for major impact this fall.
“Danny is someone we can rely on every day, and he is a leader in the back. Chad Porter is a name the area will know if they don’t already, and Matt is a very talented sophomore getting better every day,” Petraitis said. “We are very capable of competing right now and the North Coast League title is something that if we play to our potential is attainable. We have goals, and that is one.”
Petraitis said the strength of the squad is the chemistry and the diversity coming together quickly.
“This is a family of tough love,” Petraitis said. “Our older guys getting on the younger guys to keep them on the right path. We have several girls playing and contributing, we have young players and some upperclassmen. The diversity of this team is very special and something I really enjoy watching grow and being around. Our team is getting better every day, and we have a challenging schedule, but we have a chance by the postseason to be a dangerous squad.”
Petraitis said the Vikings can be a strong defensive team with Gail in net and an approach to slow the opposition’s offensive attack.
“I wouldn’t say we are going to be conservative, but we can definitely play a style of game where we pass the ball, defend in the back and hold the score down,” Petraitis said. “We can shut teams down and play a defensive game.”
Porter – whose brother ,Flint, was a prolific scorer for VASJ during his playing days in recent seasons – will be counted on as a main offensive option and has caught the eye of several coaches in the preseason.
The Vikings open the season against former NCL foe Holy Name on Aug. 22.
“VASJ soccer is in good shape for the future, but we are certainly not giving up on this season,” Petraitis said. “We are young. Very young. Kids are kids and we will have some growing pains with our youth, but we are excited.”