HARVARD -- Local coaching legend Tom Hill has seen his fair share of successful Bromfield teams. When the seasoned coach says that his team has what it takes to go far in the playoffs, he means it.
"We have underachieved for several years now," Hill said. "We should've beat Keefe Tech last year and gone to the finals. Now it's our turn to achieve and overachieve. We need to shoot for the sky. I am hoping that these guys are the ones who are going to be raising the trophy, and I think they are."
The Trojans will be without leading goal scorer Dylan Osgood who was lost to graduation. Osgood continues his soccer career at Colby-Sawyer College.
Another notable loss is Mark Ferguson, who decided to forego his senior year at Bromfield and transfer to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham to help better his chances of playing in college.
"We actually lost more than I thought we would lose," Hill said. "It wasn't all due to graduation, but between the kids who aren't playing this year, we ended up with a fair amount of losses."
Seniors Ben L'Ecuyer, Ryan Kennedy and Ezra Kraus will captain the Trojans in 2013.
"These guys are dedicated to soccer," Hill said of his captains. "Ezra and Ben work well together because they are on the same select team, the FC Stars. They play a lot of give and go. Ryan has been a goalie for us for three years now. They collectively have a lot of experience.
Kennedy produced stingy goals against an average of roughly .5-per-game. Kennedy came up big in the Trojans' quarterfinals shoot-out victory at Maynard.
"This senior class is a pretty good soccer senior class," Hill said. "We will have 11 seniors on the team, seven of them started. Some of them weren't starters; they played well off the bench."
While some teams have question marks regarding depth going into the season, Hill has the luxury of 24 able-bodies at his disposal.
"Depth, definitely more depth," Hill said on the difference between this year's team and last. "These guys are definitely dedicated to soccer.
"We have a lot of guys who can play this year. Young guys, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. I expect a lot of the ninth and tenth graders to see a lot of playing time."
As far as the league goes, Bromfield has added a couple of new opponents to its schedule with a pair of matches with Fitchburg.
"It is not quite as strong as last year," the coach said on the league. "Lunenburg and Tyngsboro will be OK. Tahanto and Oakmont will be a little better.
"Last year, I expected us to come in second-place, but we ended up coming in first because we ended up playing well against Tyngsboro. I think we probably shape up with the best talent in the league this year."
During the Trojans' first two scrimmages, Hill has noticed that his team possesses a pass-first mentality. "I have found them very unselfish so far," Hill said. "I think these guys are very, very unselfish because of the two inside halfbacks, Ben and Ezra, who are very unselfish people. A lot of players take their cues from them."
While Hill is hopeful about his team's chances at advancing deep into the playoffs, his optimism isn't met without some uncertainty.
"What I am worried about is scoring goals," Hill said. "We haven't had so few goals in a long time. That's the thing that worries me.
"Last year, we relied on Dylan way too much. We really have to put pressure on goalies, and we have to be hungry and greedy. We need people who are greedy for goals. As long as you are there to put goals in the back of the net, that's what we care about."
Ross Cullinane-Brown and Andrew Cullinan will likely play up front at the forward positions.
On the outside halves, Eric McAlpine and Eli Wood will play off the bench at inside halfback. Junior Adam Lorenz-Kruk has improved vastly since last year.
The Trojans are very strong down the middle on defense. Junior Matt Olejarz and sophomore Roman Vellante at sweeper will help lead Bromfield defensively.
"We are trying to find some outside fullbacks," said Hill. "We are looking between Ben Veno and the new fellow Nate Green. They are left-footed outside left fullbacks. Mitchell Sklar should help us this year as a fullback. He has gotten stronger and more skilled."
Bromfield plays its first four games on the road and won't return home until Sept. 18, when it faces Fitchburg at Harvard Park.