Seniors Victor Lemus, Ryan Urwiller and Dylan Thompson all have several things in common. But each brings a different dimension to the pitch for the Peak to Peak Pumas soccer squad.
Urwiller leads the attack, Lemus owns the midfield and Thompson anchors the defense.
But if there is one thing in common that sticks out about the trio to coach Peter Chandler, it’s their ability to take over the game.
“All three of these guys are gamers,” he said. “They are so calm on the field but each one of them can just dominate at any given moment.”
And if Peak to Peak returns to the postseason for the eighth consecutive season, much of the credit will go to the three captains.
The Pumas lost 13 of their 16 varsity players off a squad that lost in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Class 3A playoffs. But luckily for the Pumas, the three who remain might possibly be the best trio of players in the classification.
“We lost a ton of good players off last year’s team,” Chandler said. “But these three guys are All-State. We might possibly be returning our three best players, which is never a bad thing. Ryan, Dylan and Victor will be unmatched in our league and class. They are older, faster, stronger and smarter. They will definitely lead our team”
Urwiller knows it is up to the captains to get the young Pumas ready to play.
“I like taking the leadership role. It is a challenge but it is a lot of fun teaching the younger guys how to be successful,” he said. “They don’t have the experience that we have, so we have to help them get there and teach them what it takes to make the playoffs.”
And while he knows it will be difficult to make the postseason, Urwiller isn’t planning on missing out in his final season.
“Even though these guys are young, they are still talented,” he said. “We have the talent to make the playoffs and even go far. It is our job to show them the way.”
For Thompson, winning is the No.1 goal. He’ll do it whatever it takes, even if that means a change of position.
Thompson will be moving from his traditional spot at midfield to take charge of the defense. His job is to shut down anything and everything that comes his way.
“We have a big goal of making the playoffs this year,” Thompson said. “Winning means everything to me so I just want to do everything I can to help the team, and taking that position will help us out.”
Chandler believes it will be a smooth transition for Thompson.
“Dylan has played defense before and that’s his position when he plays club,” he said. “So I think he will be good for us back there and he will help our defense.”
That leaves the middle of the field to Lemus. But he knows he can’t do it alone and the Pumas’ hope lies in the development of the younger players.
“I feel like we have a lot of potential,” Lemus said. “We need to build up our confidence early and then anything can happen.”
Lemus believes a good balance of leadership will take the Pumas deep into the playoffs.
“We need to show them on and off the field what it takes to be a winner,” he said. “If we can get them ready early in the season, then we can hopefully get to at least the quarterfinals.”
Although the task is daunting, Chandler believes the talent the Pumas possess is enough to push them into the postseason again.
“As long as we grow during the season and peak at the right time, we’ll be OK,” he said. “We are going to be in good shape. I am excited to see what will happen this season. We are ready to go. Bring it on.”