KoMets settle in for Barbosa’s second year
A year ago, Kasson- Mantorville boys soccer coach Leo Barbosa took over for Dave Bahr. While he had the experience of coaching with the junior varsity team in his previous season with the KoMets, there still was a bit of a learning curve which all coaches go through when stepping up to the varsity level.
Sometimes, the transition can be rough for the coach and the players as they learn what to expect from their new boss on the sidelines. The result for the KoMets wasn’t pretty as they struggled through the year with a 3-12-1 record including a 1-4-1 record in the HVL.
“With this being my second year [as a varsity coach], I think that I have more of an idea what to expect during agameandhowtoleada team,” Barbosa admitted. “I think that the players got that experience of playing for me as well and I think we can be more competitive.”
The KoMets will have plenty of turnover this year losing a large senior class, but they feel like the window is still open thanks to a slew of younger players that played for Barbosa dating back to their time on JV.
“The guys already know what I want and expect from them,” Barbosa said of his team. “It makes my job a little easier when they have the enthusiasm and knowledge to go with being pretty good players. It makes me feel like we’re going to have a good year.”
K-M will have a younger roster, which means that they’ll be giving up plenty of size when going through their schedule. While some of the lack of experience of playing at the varsity level could be detriment, it also represents a positive as they’ve already spent time learning how to play next to one another.
“We have a pretty young team with a couple of ninth and tenth graders,” Barbosa explained. “We’re going to be smaller, but the good thing is that this group is going
to play together for another two or three years. It’s a good thing and a bad thing for us.”
Along with the youth, there’s still a solid stable of captains as Nicholas Kremer, Brandon Nino and Aaron Struckman have already accepted their leadership duties and look forward to helping out the younger KoMets get up to speed.
“Those are guys that are very passionate for the game of soccer,” Barbosa said of his seniors. “They pass that along to the other guys, too. They’re motivated to have a good season and they’re pushing all the guys pretty hard and just have a great attitude out there. They’re great players that will de nitely make a di erence for us.”
In the end, the KoMets will have to deal with the usual foes in the HVL such as Byron and Rochester Lourdes, but they’re up for the challenge and they more experience they gain in big games, the better the team will be.
“I’m pretty sure that we can have a good season,” Barbosa declared. “We lost a lot of seniors, but the other teams did too. We’re going to be more competitive this season.”