Coppell faces Keller in preseason test of offseason expectations


Angelina Liu

Coppell senior midfielder Preston Taylor passes against Allen junior forward Osi Iyamah at McKinney ISD Stadium. Coppell starts its new season against Keller on December 9th, with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Sahith Mocharla, Staff Writer

Sports  and cooking are more similar than you may think; everything truly comes down to timing, ingredients and putting it all together in a way that’s balanced. This year, the Coppell boys soccer team is putting up its recipe against Keller at Keller ISD Stadium tonight at 7 p.m. to test out the new balance of the team. 

Although just a scrimmage, Coppell hopes to utilize this game to measure its team against a Keller side that was 23-3 last season.

“We want to come out quick and find out what we need to work on – that’s how we’re approaching this game,” said Coppell coach Stephen Morris, who takes over the head coaching duties from departed coach James Balcom. “We’ve been beating ourselves up since August, now it’s about how other teams are going to break us down, attack us – how are we going to respond?”

With the start of a new season, new ingredients have come into play, with Morris focusing on ensuring that the Cowboys are as cohesive off the field as they are on the field. To achieve its goals this season, talent is important, but means little if there isn’t trust between teammates.

“For as long as I’ve been here Coppell’s goal has been to go all the way to the end,” Morris said. “For us to achieve that, off the field needs to be as cohesive as on the field. We need to be willing to fight, grind and bond with each other.’

Facing a strong Keller team, although in preseason, the team’s mentality hasn’t shifted.

“The main thing this year is being intense from the first whistle to the final one,” Coppell senior center back Preston Taylor said. “For the past few years the first half of the game, tournament and season have been lazy. We’ve always had a really rough start, not being focused, and we won’t let that happen this year. With this new mindset and mentality – always staying focused – we won’t be waiting till the last minute to pick up the pace.”

Coppell wants to be proactive – with the ball and without – with the Indians serving as its first test of its new recipe.

“Our goal is to let our front line lead us, lead our situational pressing,” Morris said. “We need to put pressure on [Keller’s] backs pretty quick, force them to be technical and beat us by playing the ball out from the back or just going over the top. I mean you saw with some of those World Cup games – Morocco vs. Spain – it isn’t enough to have the ball; we’ve got to be effective with it.”

Winning this match, although not one for the record books, is a step on the path to Coppell’s goals, goals the team is keeping in mind as it prepares to play.

“I think we can go far – we’ve got a strong team, JV kids moving up, everyone else getting that little bit better – but to get to state, we’ve got to go one step at a time,” Taylor said. “Keller is our first chance to put to practice what we – coaches and captains – have been preaching all off-season: an emphasis on proactive soccer, a diligent situational press, and a cohesive 4-3-3.”

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