Having a roster full of sophomores and freshmen isn’t a concern for new Yankton boys’ soccer coach Dave Dannenbring. He looks at it as the building blocks for the future … and the present.
Yankton has just six seniors and one junior as it opens the 2019 boys’ soccer season — the first under Dannenbring — as it opens the campaign today (Friday) at home against perennial power Sioux Falls Lincoln.
“We have six really quality seniors and one junior, which makes us a young team,” Dannenbring said. “They’ve worked hard all summer, and we’ve had two great weeks of practice.”
Seniors Nick Gregoire, Reid Binde, Kyler Lillie, Luke Schulz, Josh Loest and Sam Herrboldt return for the Bucks, as does junior Christian Budig. From there, the roster features a number of sophomores and freshmen, as well as eighth grader Ty Binde.
“We have a big group of sophomores, a big group of freshmen and 10 eighth graders,” Dannenbring said, looking at both the varsity and junior varsity rosters. “You can build a program from that. They’ve shown commitment, and that’s what you need to be successful.”
Sophomore Zach Loest will step into the goalkeeper duties, with Josh Loest, Reid Binde and sophomore Jacob Kirchner helping anchor the defense in front of him.
“We have a lot of good young defenders,” Dannenbring said. “We have some speed that we can put on the wings and pressure the ball.”
Gregoire and sophomores Gavin Fortner and Ethan Yasat will also help apply pressure on defense, as will Ty Binde.
A host of talented athletes will help push the offensive pace, including Budig, Schulz and Lillie in the midfield, and sophomores William Pavlish, Sam Herbert, Zach Hebda, Brody Mathrole and Trace Jensen.
“We are going to apply a lot more pressure forward, which puts a lot more on our defense,” Dannenbring said. “I think we have the speed to do it, to be able to close and disrupt an attack.”
The 3-5-2 formation the Bucks plan to employ has been worked well in practice, according to Budig.
“We like it a lot,” he said. “We can be a lot more aggressive, and we can stop an attack at the base.”
Sophomores Gage Becker and Robert Schaefer, and freshmen Braylen Bietz, Alex Nockels, Cole Pederson and Lance Donner will also be counted on throughout the season.As the team worked toward the season, one theme remained constant, according to Budig.
“Consistency, consistency, consistency,” he said. “Last year we had a good start and threw it away at the end.”
The Bucks have shown they are ready to go, according to Schulz.
“We are very prepared,” he said. “We have a strong midfield and some returning varsity players. The younger players have the capability to step in where we need them to.”
The depth of the team has made for good practices, Reid Binde said.
“Everyone is fighting for spots,” he said. “It’s good for us. We will have more experience because of it. We’ll be ready.”
Coaching with Dannenbring is Neil Hohenthaner. Hohenthaner, also a Yankton graduate, is in his first year of teaching in the Yankton School District.
“It’s good to have a young enthusiastic coach out there,” Dannenbring said.
As Dannenbring enters his inaugural season with the program, he isn’t looking as much at wins and losses, but how the team works on the field.
“Our number one goal is to work on playing in space,” he said. “We want our guys constantly looking around, moving to open spaces so they are available to receive a pass. We want quick ball movement with short passes to open up the rest of the field.”
The Bucks will be tested early and often. After today’s season and home opener, Yankton will play two matches a week for the next three weeks, including the first half of its Eastern South Dakota Conference schedule and three of its four Sioux Falls opponents.
“We go hot and heavy right away. That’s the bad part about this season,” Dannenbring said. “We’ll have three games in before the end of our first week of school, and they just keep coming.”
But Dannenbring said there is also a positive of that challenging schedule.
“We’re out here to play games,” he said. “That’s what’s fun.”
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2019 Season Schedule
Aug. 16 vs. SF Lincoln 6 p.m.
Aug. 20 at Harrisburg 4 p.m.
Aug. 22 at Mitchell 4 p.m.
Aug. 27 at SF Washington 6 p.m.
Aug. 29 vs. SF O’Gorman 8 p.m.
Sept. 3 vs. Brandon Valley 6 p.m.
Sept. 7 vs. Watertown noon
Sept. 14 at Aberdeen Cent. 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 at SF Roosevelt 4 p.m.
Sept. 24 vs. Brookings 4 p.m.
Sept. 26 vs. Tea Area 4 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Pierre 4 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Huron 1 p.m.
Oct. 8 First Round
Oct. 12 Quarterfinals
Oct. 15 Semifinals
Oct. 19 State Final (Harrisburg)