By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Larry Dagen has been affiliated with Millington Trojan Soccer for 13 years.
He has seen several great players from the Trojans and Lady Trojans take the Centennial Park field like Jose Reyes, Kyle Eubanks, Katelyn Dagen, Ashley Benbow, Tabitha Burau and Katlyn Dupree to just name a few. But last season was the final campaign for Brennan Van Emelen in the black and goal.
“Van Emelen is probably the best soccer talent Millington has ever seen,” Dagen said. “Honestly, he’s one of those kids who is a joy to coach. He came on and did his thing.”
Now Van Emelen is on the college level and the 2014 Trojans are young with just senior Servando Mireles. Dagen said Mireles will be counted for leadership on and off the field.
“He’s a good one,” he said. “Servando brings with him his brother and cousin. I have a ninth grade cousin in Sergio. He brings a lot of energy. So basically we’re back to the drawing board.”
Sergio might see significant time on the field this season along with his cousin Cesar. Cesar is one of many sophomores on the roster.
“We have several in that group who will be leaders,” Dagen said. “You’ve got Ethan Dupree and Mr. Smith. Austin has really come a long way. In practice Austin has taken the leadership role. Austin can be physical. When we play him against that guy from Bolton, he did a tremendous job. He’ll back there on defense.”
Smith will be joined on the defensive line by Luke Bell protecting goalie Hunter Beckham. Meanwhile Dupree will be asked to transform his game as a passer last season to an offensive-minded striker.
“Ethan Dupree is an incredible soccer player and he’ll be a leader on this soccer team,” Dagen said. “So offensively, I don’t think we’ll have any difficulties going forward. Although we won’t have that Van Emelen type of guy. But we do have a Ethan Dupree who is an offensive-minded guy. Athough last year he passed the ball because he had Van Emelen.”
Other Trojans who will be attacking the opposing goalies are Jake Hawkins and Carlos Lipsey. Dagen said expect big contributions from players like Spencer Percer, Evan Morrow and Dalton McCann.
Dagen said it will take a team effort to compete in a tough District 14-3A.
“This will be a bunch, if they can really play team defense, will do well,” he noted. “The Arlingtons are kind of heads and shoulders above the rest. Watch Bartlett, they’re going to seek up on everybody. They’re going to be good this year. Bolton is young losing their stud from last year. Cordova and Kingsbury will be very competitive.
“It will take an all-out effort,” Dagen concluded. “It will take these kids embracing the true game of soccer. They have to learn how to process the ball while their skills improve. We’re going to compete.”