PLATTSBURGH — Gene Bushey likes what he sees on this year’s Clinton Community College men’s soccer team.
Bushey, after being an assistant coach the previous two years, takes over as head coach of the Cougars, who open their season at 1 p.m. today against Paul Smith’s College at the Plattsburgh State Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
“We have a good group of kids, who know each other and get along well from either having played on the same team or played against one another during high school,” Bushey said.
And while there is obvious talent on the team, the concern just a week ago was a lack of depth on the team with only 14 on the roster.
That number, however, has now grown to 18.
“We started out with 21, but we lost players for various reasons,” Bushey said a week ago. “That put us down to 14. But, we’re hoping we can add a player or two once school starts. That’s something that could definitely help us.
“We’re still going to try and take it to teams when we have an opportunity to do so. We’re quick and we want to play a fast tempo.”
Even with the addition of the newcomers, staying away from injuries to key players is crucial.
“We made the regional playoffs last year and that’s our goal again this season,” Bushey said. “We want to continue and build on last year’s success.
“Obviously, the threat of injuries is a concern. But we’re still going to play hard and we will sub as best we can to keep players fresh.”
Among the key players for the Cougars are returning defender Kaleb Snide, returning midfielder Daniel Escobar and freshman forward Kyle McCarthy.
“Snide is the captain of the team and he will run our defense,” Bushey said. “We’re going to run a flat four, instead of using a sweeper and stopper. That might take some of the players a while to get used to. That’s why playing the scrimmage we did against Division III Johnson State was needed.