Beetdiggers soccer stacked with seniors
Apr 09, 2018 10:49AM
● By Ron Bevan
Zachary Cheney brings the ball toward the goal for Jordan in a recent boys soccer game. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)
In a region with at least three major soccer powerhouses, Jordan hopes to set itself apart with continuity and familiarity. The Beetdiggers are a team loaded with players that have been together for years. With nicknames like Shrimp, Ziggy, Chico and Tomo, the players not only know each other, but are comfortable enough to have labels.
“In all my years coaching soccer, this is the one group that has come together more than any other team,” Jordan boys soccer coach Nelson Glassett said. “They are more focused than any group I have been around. They have one goal this year, and that is to make it to the state playoffs.”
As such, the team spent more time conditioning for this season than normal. While there are times and dates when actual practices can begin, players can get together informally prior to those dates. The Beetdiggers were already putting in conditioning time in January.
This has helped Jordan get past one major hurdle that can make or break a high school team. Youth soccer players spend the bulk of each year playing on club teams. They group up in a certain club and then end up being rivals of other clubs.
Once these players reach high school, the players from various local clubs are now asked to become a cohesive unit. And they usually have only one week to do this prior to the first game of the season.
For Jordan, this has become a non-issue.
“From the moment you pick a team, you have six days to prepare them for the season,” Glassett said. “With the time they put in they were mentally ready when we began. They have taken the reins and are making this season’s team come together with complete unity. Yes, they have played against each other at the club level. But come school year they really came together as a team.”
Although Jordan’s varsity team has players from all four grades, the bulk of players are in the junior and senior grades. Of those, Glassett is relying on 11 seniors to steady the helm. Not all nine are starters, but they all see plenty of action.
The senior class includes Oscar Flores, Zachary Cheney, Anthony Colunga, Kenneth Cook, Tomo Crestani, Jonathan Fullmer, Mason Glassett, Talon Hathaway, Peter Ingman, Spencer Jackson and Graden Reber.
“These players have been together for years,” Glassett said. “They are good kids off the field and great players on the field.”
Jordan was placed this season in perhaps the toughest 5A region for boys soccer. The Beetdiggers face Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Cottonwood and Timpview in the region. All five teams have impressive soccer programs, but the cream of the crop year in and year out are Alta and Brighton. Both schools have won numerous state titles, including Alta’s 4A state title last year.
But to the Beetdiggers, these are just teams standing in the way of their own goal.
“Our players are excited to play both Brighton and Alta,” Glassett said. “They feel they can compete with anyone, so their opinion of facing these teams is ‘let’s get this going.’ We are going into every game knowing we have to earn the win, so we don’t overlook anything.”
Although this team’s goal is the state playoffs, Glassett hopes to use the momentum these seniors are bringing to create a longer goal.
“We want to build the club here at Jordan,” Glassett said. “We want to be here and dangerous every year.”