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Boys Soccer: New Life Academy works on familiarity

The New Life Academy boys soccer team is working to get its players familiar with each other through the early portion of the season’s schedule.

Head coach Robb Rupp said many of their players came into the season without much experience competing as a team. In a team sport like soccer, unfamiliarity can pose a challenge.

“I think that’s what we’re (trying to find out), is where do people fit naturally with their strengths?” Rupp said. “Also, I think just working as a unit. I think that’s the most difficult thing. This group has not played together at all, so this is their first year trying to get it done.”

New Life Academy lost two games last week and tied once, dropping to a season record of 1-2-2. The Eagles lost a 3-0 contest to St. Paul Humboldt last Tuesday and lost 1-0 to St. Paul Highland Park last Wednesday. New Life followed by tying South St. Paul 3-3 on Thursday, coming back from a 2-0 deficit. Henry George scored two goals for the Eagles while Mark Rygh scored the other.

Rupp credited George, a senior captain, for having a solid start to the season. George has scored four goals so far this season with at least one assist.

The Eagles fell victim to some bad bounces for goals in the St. Paul Humboldt and St. Paul Highland Park games. But a lack of goals also did not help.

“We’re just struggling to put it in (the net),” Rupp said. “We get opportunities, and we’re missing, or we’re tentative to shoot or whatnot. A couple of those little things, if we can continue to develop, I think you’ll see us start scoring more goals.”

The back row is one of the areas where New Life Academy has the most inexperience this season. But coach Rupp said the entire team as a whole needs to work on bettering its defense.

“I don’t want to look at it and say it’s just the back line,” Rupp said. “It’s us as a whole. How do we defend as a whole? It’s our midfielders, and our forwards all working together as a unit.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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