By Brian Deakyne
RUMSON – New head coaches, generally, are unsure of their team’s potential.
But in the case of Will Gould, who is taking over as head coach of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys’ soccer program, the expectations are just as high as in years past.
Gould, who is inheriting a program that will return 13 seniors this fall, said the team has set lofty goals.
“The talent on this roster is exceptional,” Gould said. “With 13 seniors leading this team, the expectations are extremely high. With the new multiple formations we will run this year, our goals are to be one of the top teams in the Shore Conference and to make a run at a state championship.”
The Bulldogs – which had an 8-7-1 record during the fall 2012 campaign – finished in third place in A-Central last season behind Holmdel and St. John Vianney.
This year, according to Gould, Rumson aims to be at the top of the division and jump teams like Holmdel, SJV and Manasquan.
“A-Central has some competitive teams. With the talent of players we (have on the roster) this year and the preparation we are entering the season with, we expect to be one of – if not ***ITALthe***END – most, competitive teams in the division.”
Last fall, the Bulldogs were ousted in the second round of the Shore Conference Tournament by Holmdel, and lost in the opening round of the state playoffs during a 3-1 loss to Bordentown in the Central Jersey, Group II bracket.
Rumson will be returning a host of players that saw significant time over the past few seasons, along with incoming players that will play impact roles immediately.
Most notably, senior midfielder Eamon Kitson, who has been a big part of the Bulldogs’ success over the last two seasons, will return to the starting lineup this year. Kitson will be joined by senior midfielders Pete Martin and Matt Dell.
Senior midfielders Harrison Gassert and Jimmy Purcell also will be returning to the varsity roster in 2013, along with senior defenders Carl Geiger and Ryan Strang and veteran senior goalie Chris Tierney.
Senior midfielders Kieran Doherty and Chris Drummond will join the varsity roster this year for Rumson, along with a host of other players who are likely to crack the lineup throughout the season.
“The talent I am inheriting this year is remarkable,” Gould said. “Since taking over, my staff and I have been impressed by an overwhelming number of players in a short amount of time. The dedication from incoming freshman to veteran seniors has been outstanding.”
More than anything, Gould said he has been impressed by the conditioning of the players preparing for the season.
“The major contributing factor to the dedication from the players is in the training we implement on the field; using complex, high intensity, professionally successful drills and conditioning methods,” Gould said.
With such a large number of seniors, Gould said he and his staff have yet to name team captains, calling the selection “an ongoing process.
“With 13 seniors leading this squad, the leadership is beyond anything I had anticipated,” Gould said. “One of the many benefits of being the new head coach is the opportunity to get to know the players as athletes and as individuals.”
Rumson will open its regular season at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, when it travels to face Marlboro High School.