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September 18, 2019

9/4/2019 4:20:00 PM
Goal-oriented Braves soccer team aiming for opener
PROPER APPROACH – New La Conner High boys’ head soccer coach Galen McKnight leads a passing drill during a pre-season workout Friday afternoon. The team has also spent time in the weight room prior to La Conner’s season opener at powerhouse Providence Classical Christian Academy on Sept. 9.   – Photo courtesy of Bill Reynolds
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PROPER APPROACH – New La Conner High boys’ head soccer coach Galen McKnight leads a passing drill during a pre-season workout Friday afternoon. The team has also spent time in the weight room prior to La Conner’s season opener at powerhouse Providence Classical Christian Academy on Sept. 9.   – Photo courtesy of Bill Reynolds
Bill Reynolds


The season hasn’t started, but the La Conner High boys’ soccer team has already met a key goal.
A deep lineup now tops the completed side of new head coach Galen McKnight’s to-do list.
Himself a former Braves standout, McKnight scored big-time when he was able to build a pre-season roster of 25 players, including a large group of freshmen plus varsity basketball players Charles Baker, Elijah Porter and Ashley Davis all making their soccer debuts.
“With those numbers,” he explained, “practices can be competitive again.”
Heading the La Conner depth chart will be returnees Noah Lee, Mason Wilson. Cameron Burks, Manuel Lopez, Skylar Morse and Spencer Olson.
Lee, a striker who doubles as an outstanding sprinter in track-and-field, figures to be a consistent scoring presence for the Braves.
But much of McKnight’s attention and that of assistant coach Kyler Dawson will be directed at the defensive side of the pitch.
As a La Conner center-midfielder a decade ago, McKnight played on teams that were strong both offensively and defensively and reeled off successive deep state playoff runs, including one under his predecessor, long-time Braves mentor Steve DeLeon.
In an effort to reclaim that past success, La Conner players have divided time this pre-season between strength training in the weight room and a steady diet of fundamentals on the practice field.
“This is something the players wanted,” McKnight pointed out. “They want to do well and be successful. So it’s important that they’ve bought into this.
“Some people think soccer isn’t very physical, but it is,” he added. “So you can have an advantage by being stronger.”
La Conner also hopes to develop an edge via crisp passing and efficient shot selection, traits for which its opening day foe – Providence Classical Christian Academy – is well known.
The Braves visit the Providence campus in Bothell Sept. 9 for a 3:30 match.
“They’re a very fundamental team,” McKnight says of the Providence team. “They’re very sound. They maintain possession of the ball for long periods of time and avoid making bad passes. They really do a good job of keeping the ball on the ground.”
La Conner’s home opener is Sept. 11 (4:30 p.m.) with NW2B rival Lopez Island.
If recent history is any indication, Orcas, Friday Harbor and Mount Vernon Christian will provide La Conner its toughest tests in conference action.
At this stage of the process, though, McKnight and Dawson are focused more on their team than who they’ll face on the schedule.
“They’re working real hard,” McKnight says of his charges. “I’m really proud of them. They’re doing an awesome job so far.” 







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