WARRENSBURG - Warrensburg High School's boys soccer program is now under construction, and sports observers have solid prospects for the upcoming season.
Only five years old, the Burgher varsity soccer team competes in the aggressive, skilled Adirondack League.
Despite losing the majority of the games since their inauguration, the team is now poised to make their mark.
Each year, more students have joined the squad, and this year's crew has the largest number of experienced seniors ever - only a few graduated in 2009.
In 2009, despite finishing with only a 1-15 record, the team proved their potential.
That one win was an early-season game against the experienced, talented North Warren squad, which has enjoyed considerable success despite the school's modest size. The two teams' next mutual matchup was lost by a shot made within the final 11 seconds - and several other games in 2009 were excruciatingly close.
This year, there's a group of veteran players on the Burgher team who've been sharpening their skills and gaining experience through five long years.
Leading the returnees are top offensive threat Ryan "Bigfoot" Belden, and Sean Young, a fast player with a strong shot, as well as Jeff Bentham, Justin Baird, David Goucher, Dan Cobb, Masyn Morey, and two standouts with experience as goalie, Dan Cobb and Aaron Seeley.
Two others represent a threat to opponents - Chris Robinson, who coach Brian Lemery said is a "hard-nosed" defensive player that can shut down other teams' top threats; and Tyler McKinney, who has a remarkable surprise in store for other Adirondack League teams.
In tossing the ball into play, McKinney often accomplishes an acrobatic "flip-throw" which resembles a handspring that launches the ball, and the feat can put opponents off-balance.
The deep roster of Burgher seniors means they'll likely be very competitive, particularly considering most of their opponents in the league have experienced substantial losses this year due to graduation.
"We're hoping to take advantage of other teams losing top players," Lemery said. "We'll be seeking out a few more wins this year."
Aiding this momentum will be the robust enthusiasm the team has been exhibiting in practice, Lemery said, noting they play with confidence despite the program's prior season records.
"Our kids really enjoy the sport, and they know they've got nothing to lose," he said, noting the roster's considerable depth.
"Our seniors know it's now or never, and they want to go out on a high note," he said.
2010 Varsity Boys Soccer schedule
9/13 Corinth Home 4:15 p.m.
9/15 Bolton Home 4:15 p.m.
9/17 Salem Away 4:15 p.m.
9/20 North Warren Away 4:15 p.m.
9/22 Argyle Away 4:15 p.m.
9/24 Lake George Home 4:15 p.m.
9/27 H. Luzerne Away 4:15 p.m.
9/28 Fort Ann Home 4:15 p.m.
10/1 Corinth Away 4:15 p.m.
10/4 Johnsburg Away 4:15 p.m.
10/6 North Warren Home 4:15 p.m.
10/8 Lake George Away 4:15 p.m.
10/12 Johnsburg Home 4:15 p.m.
10/15 Hartford Home 4:15 p.m.