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Basalt boys soccer edges Grand Junction for third straight win under new coach

The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, on the BHS field. The Longhorns won, 2-1, for their third straight win.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Thomas Olson saw the talent. He also saw the need for a culture change, and so far this has led to a hot start for the Basalt High School boys soccer team this fall.

“He has completely changed the culture here at Basalt,” BHS senior captain Calum Inglis said of the Longhorns’ new head coach. “We worked hard this offseason and I think we are all just hungry to come out this year, especially coming off that tight playoff game last year. We knew how good we could be, and he’s really led us to what we’ve become.”

Olson, the team’s first-year head coach, has guided BHS soccer to a 3-1 start to the season. This includes a 2-1 home win on Tuesday over Grand Junction, a third straight win for the Longhorns.



Having grown up playing soccer in Durango, Olson bounced around before joining the Roaring Fork School District as a teacher last year and instantly knew he wanted to get into coaching. He helped coach the BHS girls as an assistant last spring before taking over as the head coach for the boys this fall.

“After watching footage, I saw they had a lot of talent and a lot of drive. They just needed that little extra spark,” Olson said. “We do not walk on the pitch. We jog and we go with a purpose. And having that purpose and picking each other up, their culture changed dramatically.”




Basalt went 6-8-1 in 2022, losing 3-1 to James Irwin in the first round of the state playoffs. Only four games into 2023, and the Longhorns are already halfway to matching that win total. After a 4-2 season-opening loss at Class 2A powerhouse Crested Butte, BHS has ripped off wins over Telluride (4-3 on Aug. 19), Delta (5-0 on Aug. 26) and now over 4A Grand Junction.

Basalt High School boys soccer coach Thomas Olson, center, greets players walking off the field as the team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, on the BHS field.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Basalt High School boys soccer player Calum Inglis controls the ball against Grand Junction on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, on the BHS field. The Longhorns won, 2-1.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Against the Tigers on Tuesday, BHS trailed 1-0 early before a goal by sophomore Marcos Gonzalez made it 1-1 at the halftime break. The game-winning goal came with about 10 minutes to play in regulation via a corner kick from Melvin Perez Coca. The goal officially went into the books as an own goal after the ball bounced off a defender’s leg and into the net. It was Inglis who helped clear that space in front.

“It all starts with our discipline. It was a physical game and things got chippy,” Inglis said. “They got a few yellow cards and a red, and last year I honestly believe we would have had a few cards. But we kept our heads, kept our composure, and just scored when it mattered.”

Now, Basalt will take its three-game win streak into its league opener on Thursday at Delta (the first matchup between the teams did not count toward the league standings). Then, a week later, BHS will host Rifle in another league game.

The Longhorns still have two games each against Aspen (Sept. 21 and Oct. 10) and Roaring Fork (Sept. 26 and Oct. 17) on the schedule, as well. Aspen is 0-1 after a 5-0 loss to Rifle on Aug. 24; the Skiers next play Sept. 14 at Vail Mountain, per MaxPreps. The Rams are 2-0 and host Gunnison on Thursday.

“They are a true team this year and working as a great unit,” Olson said of the Longhorns. “As Calum said, they are hungry. They are not satisfied just where they are. They want to be better. We have a slogan this year: Better never stops. So, they come to practice every day and they want to be 1% better, 10% better. They just want to keep on growing, because they are never satisfied.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosts Grand Junction on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
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