The Bonney Lake High boys soccer program is going through an evolutionary process common to fairly new schools.
“We lost five kids to graduation who had been with the program for three years,” said Luke Helling-Christy, coach at the 4-year-old school. That group had been with the Panther program from the beginning, experienced the ups and downs together and, eventually, departed together.
“Now, we have kind of a divided group,” Helling-Christy said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors and sophomores, but not a lot of juniors.”
The emphasis within the Panther program may have shifted with the change in personnel.
“We lost a lot of defensive strength,” the coach said, “and a lot of the guys this year are offensive-oriented.”
That could lead to a more wide open game or, as Helling-Christy puts it, “kind of a run-and-gun approach.”
The bottom line, he said, is, “I think we’re just going to try to outscore people.”
Helling-Christy is going to use the early part of the season to look at combinations, do some experimenting and determine exactly how the Panther machine works most effectively.
“We just have to learn to play to each others’ strengths,” he said.
That process could revolve around a couple of sophomores who earned starting jobs last year as freshmen, defender Kyle Campbell and midfielder Billy Jordan. “I think they’re ready to step up and assume leadership roles,” Helling-Christy said.
He will get a first real look at his squad Saturday when the Panthers participate in a jamboree hosted by Auburn High. Next on the schedule is a March 18 nonleague home game against Eatonville.