The Shorewood boys soccer team’s play this spring has exceeded the expectations of its new coach, Gary Harris. The Thunderbirds finished the regular season tied for fourth place in Wesco 3A with a 7-4-1 conference record and take on Arlington on Tuesday in a 3A District loser-out playoff game.
“I’m a realist, and (at the start of the season) I was worried how we would do,” Harris said. “We have only one really high-level premier player, and the rest are lower-premier or select players, or non-soccer players. I didn’t know what to expect. But sometimes not having a superstar makes for a better team. We struggled during the preseason, but after we got the right people in the right positions, we’ve been competitive.”
Shorewood has been led by defenders Jack Bong and Theo Steinmetz, and goalkeeper Nathaniel Poole. The Thunderbirds aren’t an offensive juggernaut, so they rely on their defense to win games — they allowed one or zero goals in 10 of their 16 regular-season contests.
“We have a solid backline and a good goalie, and we defend well as a team,” Harris said. “We rely on counter-attacks and create goals with set plays because we lack a true forward. But we figure that if the game’s 0-0, we always have a chance. Nothing is easy for us, which actually helps because we always know we have to give a good effort.”