Under first-year coach Tommy Bresson, the Eden Christian boys soccer team hopes to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
The Warriors, who joined the WPIAL two years ago, begin Section 3-A play at North Catholic on Tuesday.
Eden Christian will host Seton- La Salle on Sept. 10.
With the top three teams advancing to the playoffs, Eden (5-9-2 overall) finished fifth in the section last season.
“I'm really optimistic by what I've seen,” Bresson said. “Of 18 kids who tried out, 13 were returnees.
“We'll build off that.”
Eden Christian lost top scorers Matt Koster (11 goals) and Gabe Manges (nine goals) to graduation.
But junior Austin Plantz, who scored eight goals, returns, as do top defenders Nate Hammerle and Paige Clary.
A senior, Clary will finish her career with the boys instead of joining the girls team, which is in its first year in the WPIAL.
Juniors David “Cranny” Cranston, Nathan Rogers and Ben Koster also return.
“We'll have a strong defense,” Bresson said.
Freshman Drew Aiken shows promise as a defender.
“Drew's an exciting player,” Bresson said. “I'm surprised by him.
“He's tenacious and very active, and has great composure with the ball at his feet.”
Bresson, 27, previously coached at the Black Forest Academy, an international Christian school in Kandern, Germany, where he coached the girls team to a 3-6-1 record last year.
Cranston, 16, likes that Bresson has European coaching experience.
“He's teaching us to be possession-oriented,” Cranston said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
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