Quentin Weight knows that Mattoon lost several talented players.
The Green Wave lost first-team All-Apollo players Trent Hettinger and Quincy Hamilton, as well as second-team All-Apollo player Jackson Whalin from last year’s 14-5-3 team.
But he knows the team has a strong core returning.
Wright, one of two All-Apollo Second Team selections returning, spent the summer playing for the Champaign IFC Showcase team that practices three times a week and played in several quality tournaments.
During Mattoon High’s open workouts, Wright said that about 18-20 players have shown up.
“More than half are underclassmen,” said Wright. They work hard. These freshmen are putting in the time. They should be able to step in and help.”
Wright said that while the freshmen could help, the team will need to rely on its senior class.
“The now seniors are going to have to step it up,” said Wright. “Andy Karpus is going to use his speed. Nathan Morgan knows the field. Ty Easton, Mitchell Gergeni, and hopefully Brock Goonan give us players who can play a lot of positions. Add in Skocy and we should be well-rounded. Aside from seniors, there is Jace Garner who stepped up last year and Miles Clapp is a solid defender.”
Mattoon finished 7-3-2 in the Apollo, finishing third. Lincoln won the Apollo at 11-0-1, while Mahomet-Seymour finished 10-2-0. Mattoon played both teams to a 1-0 loss and tied Lincoln once.
“I would like to at least win the conference, but we always have a tough one, Wright said. “You always want a regional (title), too, but we play a lot of good teams. This is a group of kids I’ve played a lot of soccer with over the years. I’m hopeful we can pull it together this last season.”