As the Huron boys’ soccer team heads to Pioneer to play in another city rivalry game tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 22) the River Rats can bring them a little more confidence after a strong showing against a strong Skyline team last week.
Huron lost 6-2 to the talented Eagles but Coach Luis Gomez was very happy with what he saw from his young team.
“It was an exciting game for our staff and players,” he said. “Our goal was to battle for 80 minutes. I was proud of the determination, fearlessness, and positive outlook my guys showed during and after the game in the face of defeat.”
Skyline is one of those programs that puts “state title” at the top of the chalkboard every year when it comes to team goals. And with 17 seniors and a very strong lineup, their expectations are sky high.
Huron, on the other hand, has a very young team.
“We have a varsity roster with 35 players and we were able to rotate 25 players into (the Skyline) match,” Gomez said. “Eleven out of 12 of our underclassmen got to play a part in this match.”
And a number of those players stood out: Tim Baker (10/M), Felix Lahann (10/D), Chris Yiu (10/D) “showed great drive against a top opponent who was physical and experienced,” Gomez said. “They showed they have the skills necessary to hold their own.”
Huron has already had players step up in the face of adversity.
“Sophomore defender Nick Yiu, who is going to be a leader in our back line for years to come, suffered a season-ending injury during the last day of tryouts,” Gomez said. “He still provides a voice from the stands. In his absence, freshman Will Cook-Diamond has stepped up and played a role for us.”
In the game against Skyline, Cook-Diamond provide his second assist of the season when he helped set up Djimo Kouyate for the opening goal of the game.
Junior Djimo Kouyate scored his sixth goal of the season early in the second half for Huron. “He is in great form at the moment,” Gomez said. “He is one of the top players in the SEC Red. He has the potential to have a very special season.”
Gomez gave an assist to Skyline Coach Chris Morgan and his team.
“He has built a program across town that has an identity and are competitive every season,” Gomez said. “We are looking to build a program that will be talked about in the same sentence as Skyline, Troy Athens and East Kentwood. They have set the standard for the conference and we are working towards improving our standards so we can be in the conversation at the end of the season. We are eager to play them again.”
The River Rats will play at Pioneer at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.