The boys' soccer team hopes to claim the Sky-Em League title for the fourth consecutive season, and a strong core of players will lead them in the endeavor.
Jake McAllister, a three-year starter, two-time Sky-Em Player of the Year, and a two-time first-team all-leaguer will be one of the team's key players again this season. McAllister scored 18 goals for the Outlaws last year and is expected to be a scoring threat again this year.
"Jake is one of the best players in the state right now," said Coach Rob Jensen. "He is also one of the hardest workers. His skill, athleticism and attitude are unmatched. He will be a dominant force up front for us and make everyone around him better."
Evan Rickards, also a three-year starter, earned first- team all-league honors and was named second-team all-state last year as a junior. Last year he scored 10 goals for the team.
"Evan has great leadership and attitude," said Jensen. "He is a speedster on the outside midfield and does a great job defending the ball. He has improved in every aspect of his game."
Keenan O'Hern (senior) saw a lot of time at midfield and at forward last season, and also trained as the Outlaws' back-up goalie behind two- time all-league goalie Drew Corrigan. Jensen noted that O'Hern will be one of the best keepers and field players in the league this year.
Jardon Weems (senior) is a returning starter on defense. Jensen told The Nugget that Jardon has improved his skills and is stronger and faster than last season.
"Jardon will likely see time as a center defender," said Jensen. "He is savvy and skilled."
Trenton Marks rounds out the returning senior players.
"Trent saw limited action last season and has worked hard at improving skills and has shown great leadership in the off-season," stated Jensen.
Justin Harrer (junior) is a two-year varsity starter at sweeper and one of the most athletic players in the state. Justin will see time at both sweeper and striker this year.
"I expect him (Harrer) to be one of the best forwards in the state along with Jake this season," said Jensen. "They should be a lethal one-two combo."
Sophomores Colton Mannhalter and Jadon Bachtold return as strong and solid players for the squad.
Mannhalter earned second- team all-league honors as a freshman last season and is a tenacious defender. He will see time this year as a center midfielder.
"Colton has a great sense for the game," said Jensen. "He has really improved his footwork in the off season while playing club all year. He also has increased strength and distance he can score from."
Bachtold will see lots of time as a center midfielder. Jensen noted that Jadon is a great playmaker and has improved his scoring potential."
Jensen stated, "Colton and Jadon both play the game so well that they are the heartbeat of our team. They trigger many of our plays and really know how to play the game."
Connor Schaab and Ethan Stengel (juniors) also return for another year on varsity and both will see time at midfield and at forward this year.
"Connor has improved strength and size as well as knowledge of the game," said Jensen. "He is really athletic and has a nose for the goal. Ethan is super-fast and has worked hard on his footwork and ball skills. He is great at finding the goal."
New additions to the team are juniors Gabe Willitts, Casey Lane and Ben Larson. The trio will see lots of varsity action and play key roles. They were all leaders on the JV team that only lost one game last year and according to Jensen are ready for varsity play. Gabe and Casey are likely to see lots of time at defense and Ben can play defense or at midfield.
The final addition is senior Ben Pope, who will see time in the goal. Jensen stated that Ben has a great attitude and is improving his game at a rapid pace.