The Woodstock Stallions Division I men’s team is officially firing on all cylinders now that the players have gelled as a team and learned to trust each other. The older core of players have competed with each other for many years, but the new core of players are very young for a men’s squad – including six players who are under 18.
“We still have to get the youngsters to realize that they don’t have to carry the team, like they did in high school,” said Sharon Docherty, who is Woodstock Soccer’s president and the manager (and a member of the coaching staff) of the Stallions. “It’s tough for them to do, but they’re starting to get it, and the future looks very promising for this team.”
The Stallions travel as far as Sarnia, and also play in Chatham and against the Taxandria Soccer Club. The team’s strengths are its strong work ethic, its speed and competitiveness, and the fact that the 17 players like each other.
“They strive to get better each and every match,” said Docherty, who has been coaching soccer for more than 30 years and has worked with this Stallions squad, which is led by head coach Jay Jones, for the past five years. “It’s exciting to see them compete week in and week out.”
Under Jones and his coaching staff, the Stallions are working on blending the old with the new. In addition, besides working on overall fitness levels, the team is focused on structure and strategy, as well as developing players – for today and for the future.
One of the highlights of the season thus far for the Stallions was beating St. Columban on their home field, which is notoriously a tough place to play. But the Woodstock men persevered, hanging tough all game and coming away with a well-deserved victory.
One of the team’s goal is to finish in the top 3 of Division I. Docherty certainly thinks the Stallions can do it, and she’s excited to see just what the young men will accomplish this season.
“They’re a fantastic group of young men who love the game,” she said. “It really is a privilege to coach them.”
Contributions by Sharon Docherty