Ray Bell is new in the role of head coach for the RHAM boys' soccer team this year, having taken over for departing coach Jim Fromme. But as an assistant coach last year, Bell is familiar with the returning players.
At a tryout at Aug. 23 at Veterans Memorial Field, Bell said, "We have a good nucleus back this year." Bell lost a couple of strong center mid-fielders to graduation, as well as primary goalkeeper Ted Sauyet. The coach has a number of good contenders to replace them, he said, as he begins the process of sorting out his new team.
The RHAM boys' soccer team went 14-0-2 in 2013, entering the Class L state championship with a number five seed. The team defeated Foran in the first round of the tournament, by a score of 7-0. A round two win against Windsor, with a final score of 2-1, brought the Sachems up against number 13 seed Pomperaug. A 1-0 defeat by Pomperaug put an end to the 2013 season. The 2014 team will be looking to match the success of the previous season.
At the morning tryouts, Bell had 14 probable varsity players dressed in orange vests, and about an equal number sporting yellow, as potential JV players. Among the varsity prospects, "Most of them had some varsity play time last year," said Bell. JV players would be vying for varsity positions. Another 13 freshmen showed up for the first day of the new season. The turnout of more than 40 players was a good one, said Bell, and about the same as the previous year. The numbers should allow the coach to put together another strong season for 2014. "We expect to be a contender this year," he said.
The captains for the 2014 RHAM boys' soccer team are Ben Lawrence, Jason De Persia and Wade Titterton. The assistant coaches are R.J. Toner and Tim Barry.
The first game of the season for RHAM is Tuesday, Sept. 9, at home, against South Windsor. The game begins at 3:45 p.m.