By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
When the Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors won their league opener a week ago over in-state rival West Virginia Chaos, manager Scott Reitnour had a lot with which to be impressed, but sometimes it’s the simple things that leave the longest lasting impression.
“We scored three goals,” Reitnour said with a laugh. “I was impressed with the professionalism and intensity in training prior to the match against the Chaos and the response coming out of the match against the Chaos in preparation against South Carolina. I feel like the guys are focused and ready for the match. I’m excited about it too.”
The King’s Warriors will look to improve to 2-0-0 on the season when they host SC United Bantams tonight at 7 p.m.
Reitnour will look to the attacking duo of Billy Forbes and Zari Prescod to help make that possible. The two newest editions to the King’s Warriors accounted for all three of Southern West Virginia’s goals last week in a 3-1 defeat of the West Virginia Chaos, earning Forbes the honor of being named to the PDL Team of the Week, representing the best 11 players in the league.
“I thought Billy was fantastic and creative and dynamic,” Reitnour said. “I really liked Zari. I thought our wing play was excellent.”
Also impressive for Southern West Virginia was the defense of Harry Sherwood, Carter Robbins and Jorge Gonzalez.
“Our backs are really learning how to play together,” Reitnour said. “I thought Jorge was fantastic, saving two goals off the line. I’m just excited with the way the guys are gelling early.”
Getting a young team to gel is an impressive task for the King’s Warriors, who are one of the largest squads in PDL at 35, and must cut a game day roster down to 18 every week.
“That part is extremely difficult,” Reitnour said. “One of the things that we’re striving to download with our players is that we want a competitive cauldron right-side-up, so we don’t want a competitive cauldron where I’m trying to press you down so that I can get mine.”
Reitnour said that the goal is to create an environment where the players who are not part of the game day roster will push and be competitive as they try to make it, while also helping the starting 11 to improve.
“It’s a lot harder, because we have a plethora of midfielders, any of whom could start and do quite well for us and the same is true at the back and up top,” he added. “Trying to balance professionalism with giving guys the minutes that they need is a challenge for us.”
Also a challenge for the King’s Warriors has been Mother Nature, who has made training difficult for the boys in black and orange.
“The rain has been frustrating, but we can’t manage what we can’t control and we can’t control the weather,” Reitnour said.
While the rain has pushed the King’s Warriors inside for training this week, the forecast is calling for a cool and sunny day today, perfect for a game of soccer.
“South Carolina has a nice roster and they’re deep,” Reitnour said. “They’re 2-0-0 and they beat the Chaos 3-2 on Thursday in Charleston. So I anticipate a spirited competition.”
— E-mail: jrollins
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.