2018 Results: 2-15 (1-8 in M8); lost to Duluth Denfeld in first round of Section 7A.
Princeton, armed with a new head coach and a year of experience, aims to improve on last season’s slump. Pat Arens will be entering his first year as head coach for the Tigers boys’ soccer team.
Arens, a former Tiger girls’ varsity coach who led them to state a couple state appearances, will be tasked with turning around a young Princeton team who finished with a 2-15 overall record. Princeton was able to win a play-in game to face the number one seeded Duluth Denfeld, but fell by a score of 5-0, in last year’s section playoffs.
The young team will no longer be inexperienced as they will be returning eight starters from last year’s team with their sights set on improvement and progress.
“There’s only one place to go and that is up, and we will have a lot of room for improvement,” said Arens. “I have no doubt that we will improve, we have a good groups of kids and are fired up to get better and that is our goal.” Arens continued.
The team’s goal is to make it past two rounds of sections playoffs and win more games of course, but Arens believes the sky is the limit for his young group of players.
“We have these goals in our heads and I would say it is to be competitive and to create an atmosphere of success,” stated Arens.
With many young teams though, the keys will be discipline and communication and the senior leaders will provide that example for the younger players. Playing the biggest role in that will be senior captains Joe Schoen and Ray Anderson.
“We need to have communication on the field” stressed Schoen. “We have lacked that over the years, and I think this will be a building year for that. If we are able to add that communication we will be able to lock up that passing, those triangles and squares and get into the box and score.”
The changes to the team will need to be presented for Princeton to make the jump in the standings.
Looking ahead to some games that will be marked on the calendar well in advance are senior night against Zimmerman as well as a tough early season match-up against Duluth Denfeld.
“I’d like to put up a fight against Duluth, but it is early in the season when we will still be figuring some stuff out,” said Anderson.
To get where the team wants to be, regardless of all other factors, the right mindset could be the most important for the season.
“In our scrimmage the other day, I could see a negative mindset that they didn’t think they would be able to play with the team we were playing, but as a coach, I have to get them to think otherwise, because if they play well they can play with anybody,” explained Arens.
For Princeton to evolve into the team that they believe they can, that mindset will have to change. The Tigers began their season with a 4-1 loss to Sartell on Aug. 22 at Princeton High School.