Royal Oak High School Soccer Gets a Fresh Start
A new coach and a revamped roster bring optimism for the coming season.
- By Jake Thielen
- August 22, 2011
For this year’s Royal Oak High School varsity boys soccer team, a new year means a new start.
After a disappointing 2-13-4 season last year, the Ravens are turning to a new coach and several new players to help turn the program around.
The Ravens’ new coach is Anna Lukezich, hired by Athletic Director Brian Gordon to replace Jason Windsor, who resigned last fall.
Lukezich, who teaches graphic design at the high school, has coached soccer at other levels and served as a player/coach while at Alma College.
Gordon said Lukezich was “by far” the most qualified person who applied for the job.
“She has an amazing amount of experience at a lot of different levels of soccer,” Gordon said. “She played college soccer herself, and she’s a teacher in our building, so we’re pretty excited to have her aboard as one of our coaches.”
For the team to improve upon last year’s mark, Lukezich said it must leave last year behind and focus on the season ahead.
“It’s a brand-new team with lots of new players and a new attitude and philosophy,” Lukezich said. “I think it’s more building a program this year and really changing things right off the bat.”
Focus on teamwork
Lukezich said she hopes to focus on increasing teamwork and camaraderie among her players.
“This year, it’s just a new Royal Oak, new attitude and more of a family atmosphere,” Lukezich said. “The guys have to get along and really build a team atmosphere and a program.”
Lukezich held conditioning sessions and tryouts during the summer to help shape the team’s roster for the upcoming season.
Eric White, a senior and one of the team’s captains, said he and his teammates have worked hard during the offseason, and he expects the team to improve this year.
“The seniors know what it was like going through (last season), where we worked hard, but we didn’t have much success,” White said. “It’s been a lot of hard work (this year), and I definitely think we’re getting somewhere.”
Participation numbers up
Gordon said participation numbers in Royal Oak High School sports have increased, which he said should serve as a sign that programs such as soccer are headed in the right direction.
“As programs develop, coaches develop with them, and we arguably play in one of the toughest divisions in the state of Michigan,” Gordon said. “I witnessed all 13 of those losses last year, and I can tell you that — with the exception of just a couple — we were in most games, and we were competing. I think our program’s going in the right direction, and I think Coach Lukezich can lead them.”