FREEDOM PLAINS – It’s simple math.
Not everyone who tries out for Arlington High School boys soccer will make its teams.
The organized chaos of tryouts for one of the most decorated programs in any sport in Dutchess County began Monday as 125 players showed up for the first day of practice at Stringham Road Park.
Arlington, second only to New Rochelle in enrollment among Section 1 schools, fields four teams — a varsity team, a varsity B team, a JV team and a JV B team. Even with all those roster spots, Arlington coach Craig Sanborn said more than 40 players could still get cut (He also said eight players were awaiting medical clearance).
“Right now, it’s difficult because there’s so many kids,” said Sanborn, who encourages players to wear names on their practice gear. “I’m bouncing around all over the place.”
The chaos has led to great success for the Admirals, who won the Section 1 Class AA title last season and their fourth state championship in 2012. The team graduated 18 players and has seven returners, including two seniors.
The seniors are midfielders Nik Linnane and Kevin Contreras. Junior striker Dillon Ashong and center midfielder Vinny Colantuano figure to play big roles.
“All the other younger players are going to get thrown into the fire,” Sanborn said. “Here you go. What have you got?”
Despite massive participation numbers at the start of camp, a trademark of Arlington has been teamwork.
“It’s really all about team chemistry, and this is where it starts. Right here,” Sanborn said. “They need to be supportive of each other and need to be respectful of each other. We’re going to get hit, and guys are going to get upset, but in the end, we’ve got to walk away shaking hands and being positive.”
Junior goalkeeper Ryan Wilson has been through the tryout process before. He made the JV B team as a freshman, but was called up to the varsity B during the season. He split time with Joe DeRosa early last season before DeRosa got the lion’s share of starts leading into the sectional and state tournaments.
“It showed me what this team is about and how capable we are,” Wilson said of last year’s run. “How defense wins championships and how everyone is a leader. I’m just trying to build on the past. I want this team to go as far as we can, and I’m going to try my hardest to get them there.”
Ashong said being a member of the Admirals means a lot to him. His older brothers, Ethan, Myles and Bryan, all played for Arlington.
“It’s really important and this year, I’m a leader, too,” Ashong said. “I can’t wait to start the season with the younger players coming up.”
Ashong said younger players who are on the borderline of making the team or getting cut should keep their heads up.
“Even if you don’t make it, you always have next year and the year after that,” Ashong said. “You should keep trying until the last day.”
Colantuono was the first freshman to make Arlington’s varsity A roster back in 2012.
“We have a great core of younger players coming up,” Colantuano said. “We have to instill really good, hard work (in them). I’m really excited about this team.”
Sanborn always stresses defending with all 11 players on the field.
“Defensive pressure is Arlington pride,” Colantuono said. “We really want to make our community proud with the way we play, so it’s going to be a good season.”
Phil Strum: email@example.com, 845-437-4847, Twitter: @PJStrum