With a bushel of players returning with varsity experience, the Coupeville High School soccer team is looking to move up in the Olympic League standings.
The Wolves finished third in the conference with a 3-6 record (4-11-1 overall) last spring. To reach the top, they will have to dethrone three-time champion Klahowya and overtake Port Townsend, which “has had our number the last couple of years, but we are looking forward to our continued tight rivalry,” according to coach Kyle Nelson.
“My goal is to form a well-organized, disciplined, exciting-to-watch squad,” he added. “And with anyone who watches us play this year seeing improvement through the course of the season. I would like to finish with a winning record and a berth to the district playoffs.”
The Wolves’ list of veterans is topped by the coach’s son, senior co-captain William Nelson. The midfielder is a three-time, all-Olympic League first-team selection.
Other returning lettermen are seniors Ethan Spark (co-captain, midfielder), Laurence Boado (defender), Hunter Downes (defender) and Axel Partida (defender); juniors Dewitt Cole (goalkeeper), Uriah Kastner (defender), Brian Roberts (goalkeeper) and Teo Keilwitz (defender); and sophomores Aram Leyva (midfielder) and James Wood (midfielder).
Coach Nelson said it’s too early to predict which newcomers will contribute, but he said junior Pedro Gamarra (forward, midfielder) and sophomore Derek Leyva (forward, midfielder) are new to the team, and defender Sam Wynn leads the freshman class.
“We have experience on our side,” Nelson said in regard to his team’s strength. “We also have a number of players who played with a select team in the offseason.”
His concerns are on defense, where the club is less experienced: “We will also be looking to incorporate some new players who look to be important to our team, but it can take a while for both the defense and the new players to fully integrate.”
Coupeville hosts Olympic (0-15-1 last year) in the season opener at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10.