WEST JEFFERSON — After seven months of waiting, the Ashe County Huskies boys soccer team finally has a head coach in Paul Winterton. Winterton is also serving as the head coach of the girls’ team.
Winterton said he has wanted the job for a while now, and is pleased to finally have the chance. He said he’s looking forward to getting to coach the boys team, having coached many of them at youth levels.
Winterton will have some work to do though, with the team coming off a 13-10-1 season and having lost nine players to graduation. Among them included key starters Alec Roland, Jason Durr, Brian Zheng, Carson Keys and Adrian Arado.
Durr, Zheng and Arado essentially made up the team’s back line, which Winterton said will be one of his first priorities to work on.
“I’m optimistic, I sat down with the boys and told them, ‘Most of you aren’t going to play the positions you’re used to playing, because I’m going to move you around a lot,’” Winterton said. He added that he’ll find where each player works best in his system, which will hopefully allow them to rebuild the defense quickly.
There is also the matter of the goalkeeping position, which has three candidates with starting experience in Matt Potter, Isaac Miller and Ramces Lopez. Winterton said the starting role is open for whoever can take hold of it, with the starter being determined by what each shows on the training pitch.
Miller will be one of 10 seniors expected to be in the squad, with many having experience as starters and key contributors. Trent Baker, Max Pacheco and Justin Lopez all played key roles last season, with Chris Luna’s addition giving the team some extra momentum down the stretch.
Winterton said he expects all of them to play key roles again this season, especially with Baker’s experience playing in a wingback-esque position. He added that Luna is someone he has his eye on to step up big this season.
Winterton is also working on building up his coaching staff, with work, retirement and other commitments holding back his staff from this past season with the girls team. With nearly three months until the start of the 2019 season, Winterton has time to get everything in order.