Bucky McCarley and his Myers Park boys soccer team have won 109 games over the past five seasons, with four trips to the 4A state championship game, including three runner-up finishes and a state title in 2008.
But while being a state championship contender has become an expectation for the Mustangs, McCarley doesnt take anything for granted.
Every year is a new year and what we have done in the past doesnt really mean anything in 2013, said McCarley, whose team went 21-3, losing to Green Hope in the 4A state finals. The leadership on this team has to realize that the daily grind is what it is all about right now. It doesnt matter where we are ranked preseason or how many Division I commitments we have. Right now, its about getting better every day in every training session, in every scrimmage, in every game.
For the second straight season, the Mustangs return only three starters, starting with senior forward Kipp Carriker (18 goals, eight assists last season ) back to lead the way.
Carriker will have some offensive support with part-time starter, outside midfielder Solopino Bridges, and junior center midfielder Nick Kasten, both back to spark the offense.
Meanwhile, the defense also has a solid core returning with senior outside back Trevor Lipps joining junior center back Juan Guerrero, who started the first half of last season.
But while great players come and go at Myers Park, the constant has been McCarley, who enters his 11th season as Mustangs coach.
While McCarley doesnt like to credit for his teams success, he takes his role very seriously.
I work hard every day to try to be the kind of leader, example and older brother figure to these guys because that is what is important to me, McCarley said.
No one would be surprised if that leadership leads to a sixth straight Southwestern 4A conference title and more for the Mustangs, who face a new-look league with Porter Ridge and Garinger joining Butler, East Mecklenburg, Independence and Rocky River.
But the Mustangs will find out a lot about themselves early, as they face Ardrey Kell (season opener), Hough, Providence and South Mecklenburg in the first two weeks of the season.
As the season goes on, McCarley will try to mold his team into a unit capable of making another championship run.
I have no idea if this team is another state championship-level team and I have no problem with that, McCarley said. Its a process every season. We have to work at a high level all the time, no excuses, no distractions, if we want to continue to play at the level we have been.
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