BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer team has been given the thumbs-up to start games.
“It’s nice,” said Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer Head Coach Ian Jones after the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced boys soccer could start competitions immediately as of last Thursday when Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-176 allowed for the start.
“They are eager to go,” Jones said, adding they have a lot of returners from last year’s team which finished 13-3-2 and back-to-back district champions. “We were strong last year, but we were very young last year. Right now looking at it we are going to do better than we did last year.”
The Wolves are looking forward to playing Troy Athens, who won last year’s state championship in overtime. The match up is set to be rescheduled as the team’s were set to open in August against each other.
“It will be a nice one because we are the only one who beat them in a regular season game last year ,”Jones said. “It will be nice to get a measure of where we are in abouts playing one of the best.”
Another team Jones would like to play is Detroit Catholic Central, which knocked them out of the regional semifinals playoffs by one goal.
“It’s always one to look forward to,” he said. “We tied them last year during the season but then lost to them in the playoffs. It’s year to year because it’s a new team every year. Those two stand out to me. They give you a measure of where you are. They are both strong programs.”
He added Troy High School will be another good team as well.
While awaiting word from the MHSAA when and if they would be competing, the boys used the extra time with practices. It helped because Jones noted they pushed back tryouts because a coach and a player were exposed to people who had COVID-19.
“We wanted the coaching staff to be there and the players in that situation could still tryout,” he said. “So really we have only been back for a couple of weeks in regards to practice. Which is nice because usually you try out, you have a weekend and then into play. Whereas they tried out and we have had a couple of weeks to work on a few ideas. Going into the first game there is more rhyme and reason to what you are doing on the field. It’s given us a chance to prepare better.”
Jones added now that the boys know they will be on the field next week, they want to play as many minutes as they can.
“There is definitely a level of competition now the last two days of training. They definitely want to get out there. They want to play,” he said.
The boys have practiced on The Pond, which is behind Clarkston High School next to the tennis courts and set up for soccer and lacrosse.
“They did a really good job down there,” Jones said. “It’s really nice.”
But the soccer games for right now will be held at the high school stadium due to COVID and restrictions.
“We will play at the stadium because there are cameras there,” Jones said, adding each player is allowed two spectators. “Simply for the ability to broadcast it so if you can’t be there to watch you can watch online. We want as many people to have access to play.”
The schedule as of publication was the Wolves opening the week at Goodrich, and finished with a 0-0 tie, and heading to Seaholm on Thursday. They are hosting Rochester Adams on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Schedule could change based on other teams’ availability.