So, there’s that.
On the other hand, the first thing coach Geo Claros said on the topic, prior to Thursday practice, was, “We’re talented enough to be there every year.”
Also, several players have already made arrangements to be playing college soccer in the fall. And many on the roster were big parts of last year’s state title, as first-year starters. They better have been talented to do that, right?
Go another direction.
It’s about the program.
North has won four state titles, played for another, and been among the state’s final four for 11 consecutive seasons. You play soccer for North, this is what happens.
“I think we’ve created an environment … We try to teach everyone,” Claros said. “We’ve tried to come up with a system that, hopefully, these guys are paying attention to. I mean, they’ve heard it so much, it should be second nature to them.”
The players feel the weight of expectation.
“We don’t want to come out here and just play. We want to win and be the best, and that’s kind of our attitude, even in Celtic,” senior defender Trent Laffoon said. “We’ve just been working. It builds up a competitive nature to where we want to work to the be the best.”
Curtis McRae, also a senior defender, concurs.
“There’s no question, we always have to come out and work our brains out and stuff,” he said. “We can’t settle for just one state championship because it’s our senior year. We can’t settle for anything.”
For a moment, Claros is one side. In the next, he’s on another. The program may demand greatness, but somebody’s got to deliver it.
“They’re a group that never got deterred. I’m pretty sure every one of them wanted to be on the team as a freshman and everyone expected to come in and play as a sophomore and it didn’t happen,” he said. “It didn’t knock them off course. They’re resilient. They stayed the course. They realized their time was going to come and when it did it would be a crucial situation, and they would have to step up big and they have.