Battle Ground Tigers men’s football kicks off new season

Sebastien Rubino / [email protected]

Trials began last week for the Battle Ground Tigers men’s soccer team as hopeful athletes tested their skills in the rain.

Coach Matt Gamblin said he was impressed with what he saw and expects a good season.

“It was great to see good turnout,” Gamblin said last week. “They’re doing pretty well and have a good attitude. They all want to be on the pitch.

He said 35 to 40 boys tried out last week, which is the average number of players that make up the varsity and junior teams combined.

“I don’t know if there will be any cuts because it depends on the coaching staff and also depends on the players,” Gamblin added.

Gamblin said a good number of players will return to the team this season. They include defensive players Ravi Karlsen, Colton Sahota and Ethan Oeung, as well as striker Jose Hernandez-Cardoso and midfielders Owen Baker and Ryan Murray.

Last season, Gamblin said the team had been successful and improved from start to finish.

“(Improvements) are what we really want to see as a coaching staff in a program,” Gamblin said. “Mostly, we got better and they had a lot of fun, and also really grew as young men.”

The previous year, the team did not reach the playoffs. Instead, they played in a round-robin tournament with eight other competing schools in the league.

“They seeded us from there. We played another week with the seeds closest to us and we started again,” Gamblin said.

The team lost their last game against Skyview, 2-0.

Gamblin has already set goals he wants the team to achieve this year.

“First and foremost, the aim of this program is to help develop young men (and) develop their football skills, but I really want them to develop both on and off the pitch.” , said Gamblin. “I really like to focus on that and keep building the program. I look at the wins and the losses, but (I also look at) how we play as a team. We have a different team than we had last year. last, just like the other programs, so you can’t always say it’s wins and losses, especially at the high school level.

He added that the development of teamwork, camaraderie and a family atmosphere is essential to the program. Off the field, Gamblin said he tries to help athletes with their academics to make sure they’re ready for college and helps them choose the right classes.

“I’m a teacher, so I understand what they need to do, so (I) make sure they do well in those classes,” Gamblin said. “And if they’re not, it’s a conversation between a coach and a player, so we try to refocus them so they can continue to develop on and off the pitch.”

After evaluating the players, Gamblin said he saw “tremendous potential” in the trials.

A fair amount of underclassmen have tried out for the team this season.

“Everyone is welcoming (the freshmen) because we all want to play well and we want to do better on the pitch,” he said. “They understand what it’s like to be a Tiger. Unity is an important part of our teamwork and our program. »

The team’s first match is against Skyview on Monday, March 14. Gamblin said they are one of the toughest teams in the region, but he hopes for a good game.

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