MERIDIAN – Rocky Mountain High School expected a large turnout for boys’ soccer tryouts.
Finishing 9-9 last season, the Grizzlies knew they needed more talent this season in order to compete with perennial powerhouses like Boise and Capital.
Head Coach Mark Prince said 45 players typically try out each year.
“The principal at Heritage Middle School called earlier this year and said I would have a ton of kids trying out in the fall,” Prince said. “I thought maybe six or seven additional players.”
The first day of tryouts, Prince had 72 players show up.
With only 17 spots available on varsity and 22 on junior varsity, 33 players were cut, including four starters from last season.
“It was painful,” Prince said. “I’m still feeling the backlash.
After senior Tyson Fox, Idaho’s Gatorade Player of the Year, graduated in May, Prince decided to revamp the program.
“We had to make some serious changes in order to compete,” Prince said.
Part of the revamp was cutting the four seniors who had previously lettered, and bringing on younger players to better compete with other talented high school soccer programs.
“We felt that if we can bring in younger, more talented players, we can build a system,” Prince said.
Those players include freshman goalkeeper Zach Dean and sophomore goalkeeper Ian Linnarz.
“We are just going to have to rely on each other instead of having one or two key players to pass the ball to,” Prince said. “I think the program will be stronger because of it.”
The Grizzlies open their season at home August 22 against Twin Falls.