Soccer coach Hernandez optimistic about season
The Henry County High School soccer team took care of business on Tuesday with a 4-0 win at Martin Westview as it prepares for this weekend’s Smoky Mountain Cup tournament in Gatlinburg.
On Tuesday, the Patriots controlled the game from start to finish with possession of the ball about 80% of the time.
Jacob Davis scored twice for the Patriots while Alex Chaney and Slayden Hosford each added one goal. Many of the junior varsity players played a lot of minutes in the second half.
The junior varsity team also earned a 6-1 win.
“I would say we played well for our first game, but there’s always room for improvement,” Coach Baldo Hernandez said. “It was a good way to start the season with a win and then go to a big tournament.”
Hernandez said several of the team’s scrimmages were canceled so it was good to get a game in before going to Gatlinburg for the Smoky Mountain Cup.
“It’s good for guys to be exposed to high school,” Hernandez said. “A lot of them play travel ball and you are 14, you are playing against 14-year-olds, maybe a few 15-year-olds.
“But when you are 14 and you are playing against an 18-year-old and a senior, there’s a huge difference emotionally, physically and mentally. So they definitely have to learn (how to play against) somebody that’s 40 pounds bigger than they are.”
The tournament features about 40 varsity teams from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.
“You don’t get better playing the mediocre teams,” Hernandez said. “You can’t compete with teams that are at a lower level and get better. You are going to just plateau every time.”
Henry County is in Pool E in the Smoky Mountain Cup along with Chattanooga Arts & Sciences (CSAS), Franklin County and Stone Memorial out of Crossville.
The Patriots went 10-7-1 last year, which was Hernandez’ first year in charge of the soccer program.
He is both the boys and girls head soccer coach. The boys won the district with a 4-0 record and advanced to the substate for the first time in school history.
HIGH HOPES FOR SECOND YEAR
Hernandez’ typical style of play is modeled after FC Barcelona’s Tiki-taka style, which is to maintain possession of the ball until an attacking opportunity presents itself. The Patriots want to possess the ball as much as possible.
“We want to wear teams down physically and mentally,” Hernandez said. “The more you have the ball, the more the other team has to chase.”
Last year Hernandez simply wanted to “build the culture” and make sure the program was headed in the right direction.
Hernandez doesn’t set team goals – he asks the team to set goals. The players’ stated goals include winning the district, win the Gatlinburg tournament, win the Dyer County tournament and win the region tournament.
After winning the district and going to the substate last year, there is more pressure to achieve that same success. But Hernandez said he also wants to teach off-the-field lessons as well.
“Last year was just trying to grow the program,” Hernandez said. “This year we want to grow the program, but when we are coaching the young men we also want to give some life lessons that they can take with them after they graduate. We want to try to be competitive in soccer, but also give them life lessons.”
Henry County is a 3A team in soccer and is in District 14-3A along with Kenwood, Clarksville Northwest and Dickson County.
“We’ve got eight seniors, three are them are captains,” Hernandez said. “It’s a good mixture of a young team along with some experience in there as well.”
Hernandez hopes that combination will yield results on the field.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have a successful season,” Hernandez said.
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