By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
It’s a rebuilding season for Greenbrier East’s boys soccer team and new coach Patrick Murat.
“Every team that loses six players (to graduation) needs some regrouping,” Murat said. “Most of our players are sophomores.”
The Spartans were 6-9-2 last season, losing 2-0 to Woodrow Wilson in the sectional tournament.
Murat helped out at practices last season and went to some of East’s games. He takes over from Don Wise as head coach.
Originally from Haiti, Murat played soccer at North Park University in Chicago. He has coached high school, JV and club ball.
The Spartans opened their season Saturday with a 2-1 loss to South Charleston. Grant Riddle had the East goal, while goalkeeper Mack Brackenridge had five saves.
Murat likes his new team.
“Their greatest characteristics are they work hard and they play with heart,” he said. “They’re motivated players, desirous of working hard and making this a really good season.”
He’s not looking for any one or two players to do most of the scoring. He wants everyone, including the defenders, capable of getting the ball into the back of the net.
“We like to push (defenders) up. That’s the evolution of the modern game,” he said. “All the players can score, and from any position.”
Forwards include sophomore Ty Brown, junior Cordell Bostic and senior Caleb Davis. Center-midfielder Carlos Interiano, a talented sophomore, may also move up in the attack.
Other midfielders include senior Stefan Marr-Madariaga and freshman Jodice Shanklin in the center, and senior Garrett Clemons and sophomores Frank Ford and Ethan Meadows outside.
The defense is likewise young, withsophomore Ben Robinson and juniors Perry Ludwig, Grant Riddle, Joshua Smart and Walker Carrolls join senior Dyllan Lewis in the back.
Goalkeeper Mack Brackenridge, a standout last season as a junior, returns. Sophomore Noah Dye is a capable backup.
Murat expects the team to get better as it gains experience. In fact, he said the team’s goal is the same as that of most other teams.
“We’re going for the state championship,” he said. “I don’t expect the results of Game No. 1 to be the same as that of Game No. 10 if we continue to work hard, learn the game and continue to grow as a team and individuals.”
The Spartans will host Oak Hill at 7 p.m. Monday at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School.
— E-mail: dstillwell