You could say the Warren County High School soccer team is ready to kick it into the next gear.
Practice began Monday for what third-year high school coach Matt Jackson expects to be a promising season.
"We have eight strong seniors and a very good junior class behind them," said coach Jackson. "These juniors and seniors are the ones that have done so well playing travel ball together. I'm expecting a good year."
Nagging injuries throughout the lineup prevented the Pioneers from ever generating much momentum last year. This year, coach Jackson says the team has much better depth.
"Offensively, defensively, all around we should be good," said coach Jackson. "We had a few kids who came back to the program because they wanted to play their senior year and that's really helped."
Among those is senior F.D. de Santiago, who has shown dazzling foot skills any time he takes the field. He will be one of the main offensive threats along with John Jackson, who always plays full speed.
Players looked sharp during passing drills on astroturf inside the WCHS indoor facility on Monday, driven inside by a soggy practice field and occassional rain.
"We're so grateful to have this practice facility, otherwise we'll be running up and down the school halls," said Jackson. "This is a different playing surface so it allows us to get used to a different feel. It really helps when we play at Rhea County because their field is turf."
The seniors on the team include Brayden Chisam, Kevin Dominguez, Angel Zarate, Julian Villegas, Josiah Jackson, David Castro and Bryan de Santiago.
Other players listed on the Pioneer roster are Hagan Stewart, Issac Cantrell, Abram Stinson, Juan Almaguer, Edgar Cabrera, Sawyer Thompson, Carter Smith, Renato Rodriguez, Alan Vivas, Jay Cuox, Harper Riley, Jahier Ramirez, Luis Luna, Bradley Duenas, Cullen Lopez, Ethan Thomas, Cooper Bailey, Marvin Franco, Juan Garcia, Jake Toney, Juan Mirafuentes, Harold Gaona, Ayden Guyvara, Kevin Martinez, Jordan Ramirez, Allen Orellana, Jorge Vazquez, Brayan Morales, and Heri Hernandez.