San Juan boys soccer team strives to improve skills and rise together
Though the 2020 San Juan High School boys soccer team got on the field to play four games last season, they ultimately lost almost their entire year when high school sports were canceled due to fear surrounding COVID-19.
Now, a year later, the 2021 edition of Bronco boys soccer already has five games under their belt with two more scheduled for this week, and are nearing the halfway point of the season.
On the scoreboard and in the standings, it has been a tough first half. The Broncos are 0-5 on the year and 0-3 in Region 12. But they came close to upsetting South Sevier this past week, on Tuesday, March 23 in Monroe.
Down 3-2 at halftime, San Juan got a second-half goal and shut out the Rams to force overtime. The teams played two ten-minute periods with neither team finding the back of the net.
In the shootout that followed the scoreless overtime, South Sevier struck three times and the Broncos were unable to answer, resulting in a 3-0 shootout loss to San Juan.
The week ended with a tough 8-0 loss to Richfield at home. The three goals against South Sevier are the only tallies for the Broncos this year – two for Cameron Jensen and one for Shawn Black.
Travis Black has the lone San Juan assist on the season. One of the biggest workhorses for the team so far this year has been junior goalkeeper Lennon Done.
Though stats are only available for the South Sevier game, he made seven saves on ten Ram shots in that game – not too shabby in front of a 24x8 goal.
With games against Emery and Parowan this week the Broncos will roll through the halfway point of the regular season.
So it’s not truly a preview of the team we offer now, but we did have a conversation with San Juan Head Coach Jay Jones and he answered several questions for us.
Jones is in his fourth year at the helm of San Juan boys soccer and this is the first official full year of varsity play for the boys since they didn’t finish last year’s campaign.
Q: Coach Jones, what have you seen in the first games of the year?
A: We have seen a lot of improvement over the last year. Our ball control and communication are improving as well as our field awareness.
Q: What strengths do you have?
A: Endurance, unity, and a willingness to learn.
Q: What areas will you need to work on?
A: Communication, field awareness, spacing, and ball control.
Q: What is your approach during practice / coaching philosophy?
A: We want to do our best and focus on improving ourselves by setting measurable personal goals that lead to improvement. That helps the whole team rise together.
Q: Have any athletes made great strides in the last year?
A: Lennon Done has really improved his goaltending skills as he was able to go to a goalie camp taught by professional soccer goalie Nick Rimando.
Q: Who has impressed you so far?
A: Many of the seniors have been great leaders and an example of teamwork. This is the best team that we have had so far.
Q: What goals do you have for the season?
A: Communication, control, and confidence.
Q: Regardless of wins and losses this season, what do you feel would be a successful year?
A: If the boys are able to improve their teamwork by improving our three main goals.
Q: What can you tell me about your competition (opponents) this year?
A: We competed in a tournament in St. George where we faced teams from bigger schools and the boys were able to see effective teamwork in action. It was a great learning experience for them.
Jones added that the team is very grateful to be afforded the opportunity to play this season.
Bronco fans can support the boys this Thursday, April 1 when they host the Emery Spartans in a Region 12 match.
Opening kick is set for 4 p.m. at the Albert R Lyman Middle School soccer field.
They conclude the week on the road with another region match against the Parowan Rams at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 2.