Armed and ready for another run
Already the owner of two 3A state championships in just three years at Park City High School, head soccer coach Caro Caro is so eager to get his fourth season off and running that, he had a hard time voicing his excitement.
"My kids are hungry," he said. "They say, ‘Coach, we’re going to go all the way to state this year.’"
The Miners are hungry due to an unexpected first-round loss to Delta in last year’s playoffs, a loss that Caro says is propelling his players to start and end this year the right way.
"We have to use that as an incentive as sort of the reason why we’re here," he said.
Caro and his staff were given two weeks to start working with potential players for the upcoming season, but due to Park City High School’s annual winter break, the staff ended up with just one week to get things going.
He said, unlike years past, he took every senior who came to try out for the team.
He added that, to him, soccer is a sport based around relationships, almost like a family and having worked with this group of seniors over the years, facing the reality of cutting some of them was tough. The only roster spot for a senior in high school sports is a varsity spot. But he says whether they’re on the pitch or on the bench, every player will contribute in some fashion.
According to Caro, this year’s squad has the potential to go as far as his two previous state championship teams.
"I am now witnessing really good talent in the underclasses," he said. "The seniors came in here on a mission. I’m very excited and very optimistic."
The team will be led by Anthony Alcox and Eric Laufer, two seniors who already have state championship rings and are primed to be leaders on the team.
He added that this year’s team will have a style of playing very simply and at a fast pace. Caro said his strengths this year will be his strikers and his midfield, and while he has faith in his defense to play very consistently, he knows it will take a team effort when the team faces some of the state’s best competition.
"When we play a talented team, we’re going to be very, very conscious about marking," he said.
He also said he will be asking his forwards to drop back into the midfield often to help win the midfield battle and start counterattacks.
Caro said most high school players, no matter how talented or experienced they may be, will make mental mistakes and it’s about keeping those mistakes to a minimum if the Miners are live up to their potential.
"One tenth of a second, it can become too late," he said. "It’s going to happen; we just hope it doesn’t happen when it counts."
Soccer, maybe more so than any sport, is about finding the right blend of chemistry on the pitch and Caro said he feels this team has the right mix to make a deep run.
"I think I’m there now," he said, laughing.
Park City’s first 11 games will be on the road this season and will include stiff competition such as Judge Memorial, Juan Diego and Waterford.
Caro wants his team to play with a chip on its shoulder and not expect things to come too easily.
"I don’t want them to be cocky thinking that they’re ready to go to state. One step at a time," he said. "We’re going to look like a team that wants something."
11 Hauz, which opened last summer, serves traditional Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and shrimp, beef patties and fried plantains.