Park City boys soccer to start 2019 season with ‘all the talent in the world’
The Park City High School boys soccer team graduated 12 seniors last season after finishing second in the Class 4A state championship to Desert Hills.
But coach Tom Merchant isn’t stressing about who won’t be donning the Miners’ red and white this season.
“It is probably the most talented team in my four years here,” he said. “I’m impressed.”
Just as importantly, he said the team performed well on fitness tests, so he plans to spend more time talking strategy and less time ordering sprints.
The team’s three senior captains – midfielder Forrest Kunz, outside back Jonny Flitton and forward Jacob Farnsworth – played on the varsity squad since their freshman year.
Farnsworth, who was injured during the Miners basketball season, will probably be missed early on.
“What we graduated last year were a bunch of goal scorers, and Jacob Farnsworth was a goal scorer, so we are searching for that,” he added.
The Miners have the other end of the field covered. Merchant said the team has a handful of quality keepers, including a likely starter in senior Aidin O’Brien. Right behind him are Jonathan Clifton and freshman Sebastian Wolf.
They will all practice under the tutelage of Paul Wynn, a designated keeper coach.
The back four will likely include Tosh Marten and Will Wiest in the center.
“They are big, strong boys,” Merchant said. “They are going to be able to hold the center and allow us to maybe send out outside backs forward a little.”
That includes Flitton, depending on if Merchant finds a suitable replacement for the outside back.
The outside left spot is still up for grabs, as are the outside midfield positions and those of the strikers, but sophomore Owen Grisham and junior George Pineda, who has experience in the No. 10 jersey with Park City Soccer Club, will likely be in the mix.
Merchant said the starting 11 and their positions will be more clear after the season’s non-region slate, during which the coach can look for the best ways to group his athletes.
“Sometimes there’s some magic that you don’t expect,” he said. “All of a sudden, you want to pair players who work well as a small unit. And that takes time. These kids play for a lot of clubs, so the chemistry between them takes some time to build.”
The team was scheduled to play at RSL Academy on Friday, at the RSL Academy grounds in Herriman, followed by their home opener against Hillcrest Monday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. on Dozier Field.
“I’m excited about the season,” Merchant said. “It’s up to the coaching to make it work. All the pressure is on us now, because we have all the talent in the world.”
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The Miners had no trouble on homecoming, dispatching the visiting Ogden Tigers 48-3 for their second straight region victory.