HARVARD - Over his long, storied career, Bromfield boys soccer coach Tom Hill has seen just about everything imaginable. Owner of nine state titles, Hill has faced some adversity before, but the 2012 Trojans have presented a first for their long time coach.
"In my career, I don't think we have had as many questions to answer coming into a season then we have right now," said Hill. "We return only three starters from last year and we are still working on finalizing our starting line-up. I like what we have as a group, but we still have some issues that need to be addressed."
Seniors Dylan Osgood (forward), Lucas Hickok (halfback) and Charlie Dorward (right fullback) will serve the role of captains for Bromfield heading into their campaign. "Dylan is a three year varsity starter who was a Central Mass all-star last year and is an excellent scorer," said Hill. "He has great skills, is very energetic and aggressive. Dylan is a complete player that is fearless and really has the full package as a player.
"Lucas is talented and has very good understanding of the game. He was injured most of last year but has been healthy in the early going and has had a solid off-season. Charlie is a consistent and steady player who is generally in the right place at the right time. He has a good skill set and will be a solid contributor for us."
Joining the three captains in the starting line-up will be junior goalkeeper Ryan Kennedy and sophomore sweeper Matt Olejarz
"Matt is extremely aggressive and is the best fullback we have on the backline. He is skilled and quick. Matt is a very strong player and he has the whole package that you want in a sweeper. We have a long tradition of good sweepers here and is he continuing and as a sophomore, he will only get better."
Juniors Ben L'Ecuyer, Ezra Kraus and Mark Ferguson will fill out the remaining starting spots at halfback for Bromfield. "Ben and Ezra are extremely similar players," said Hill. Ben will play the left inside halfback spot because he is left-footed and Ezra will play the right inside halfback spot because he is right-footed. They both have excellent vision and a team first attitude. Mark is our right outside fullback who is very talented. The key for him right now is to become more consistent as a player. Mark has all the tools to be a very strong player for us."
In the battle for the forward spot opposite Osgood are juniors Ben Roop and Ross Cullinane-Brown and freshman James Kellogg. "Ben is an aggressive player who has a good skill set and will contribute for us offensively," said Hill. "Ross is a hard worker with a good knowledge of the game who uses his aggression to his advantage. James has a great deal of speed and quickness which you want when you are attacking and will see a good amount of playing time this season."
Juniors Ryan O'Leary and Mitchell Skylar are in the mix at stopper along with freshman Mason Reiter. "Ryan is an athletic player who brings versatility to our team and could see time at a couple of spots," said Hill. "Mitchell has a great understanding of the game and does a nice job of limiting mistakes. Mason has a lot of upside as a player with a strong leg, but needs to be more consistent on the field and take less chances defensively."
Looking to round out the line-up at the outside left fullback position are juniors Ben Veno and Eli Wood. "Ben has good size, which is something we are lacking, along with a solid left foot and good aggressiveness," said Hill. "Eli is athletic and dedicated to the game and will see time at a couple of positions for us."
While the Trojans may have questions, they do have a lot of depth. Looking to contribute this year are fullbacks Job Clayburn (senior), Sammy Swindells (junior) and Roman Vellante (freshman). Halfbacks Andrew Cullinan (junior), Eric McAlpine (junior), Tom Hill (junior) and Adam Lorenz-Kruk (sophomore) along with forward Roneil Foster (senior).
"Job is athletic and aggressive but is still learning the game," said Hill. "Sammy has been hurt early on but is a very consistent player. Roman is athletic and consistent in his effort. Andrew took last year off but is regaining his skills and has a solid shot. Eric has a solid skill set but needs to be more consistent day in and day out. Tom is an intelligent player with good size. Adam understands the game and is adjusting from junior varsity to varsity. Roneil ran cross-country the last three years and brings great speed and skill to the team."
Despite the lack of returning starters and amount of questions, the goals for Hill are the same as usual. "We want to have a shot at the league and we know Tyngsboro is the favorite going in," said Hill. "As the season goes on, we want to get better so we can have a shot against the top of Division III like Sutton. I believe we will have a shot at the District title if we can continue to improve throughout the season."