By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
More than 30 boys hoping to make the Portales Rams soccer team hit the brand new pitch Wednesday afternoon for tryouts.
A similar number of girls showed up for tryouts as Portales added boys and girls soccer this season.
“(The boys are) pretty rough right now,” Portales soccer coach Traci Sievers said. “I think they’re used to playing youth soccer where you don’t have to pass as much. It’s a little easier to move the ball when you pass it up the field rather than run and try to dribble through everybody.”
While this was the boys chance to make their first impression, the girls have been busy with offseason workouts.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” said Sievers, who also coaches the girls. “It’s hot today, not as hot as it was for the girls the last couple of days, but the girls have had a little more structure and conditioning training than the boys have had.”
Portales sophomore David Harberts played about five or six years of youth soccer before taking last year off.
“We ran a lot more than what I expected,” Harberts said. “That’s the hardest I’ve run in a long time. I got a lot out of it.”
“It was challenging because I’m way out of shape,” Freshman Ryan Wood said. “But after a while it will be easier and it will pay off in the end.”
“I ran them through some speed and quickness drills and footwork just to see if they could get their feet under them, and how they could handle some conditioning and see who could hang in there,” Sievers said.
Sievers said the focus of her teams will be defense.
“We’re going to be playing against bigger schools that have more experience and they’ve been playing together all summer,” Sievers said.
“We aren’t going to get very many chances offensively, I don’t think, so we’re really going to have to step it up on defense.”
The Lady Rams open the season at home against Hobbs on Aug. 25. Both teams host Carlsbad three days later.
“There’s a lot of talent out there,” Sievers said. “Everything that we need to improve on is workable.”