Aspen boys kick off new soccer season |

Aspen boys kick off new soccer season

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Aspen senior Joel Brice (10) goes up, up, up during this week's season-opening boys soccer match at the Aspen School District Stadium. The Skiers won 6-1 to kick off the new season under head coach Dave Francis.
Leah Moriarty/Special to The Aspen Times |

The Aspen High School boys soccer team kicked off a brand new season with a brand new look this week.

The Skiers, under the direction of head coach Dave Francis, stepped out of the preseason and into the regular season with a 6-1 victory over Basalt on Tuesday afternoon at the Aspen School District Stadium.

Three goals in the first half set the tone for the season-opener.

The Skiers, who made calculated moves to add to their scoring punch this season, added three more goals in the second half.

“This year, they are all a year older; they’re stronger; they’re a lot more mature,” Francis said after the Skiers started the 2014 season 1-0-0.

He said the Skiers are trying to be a more offensive-oriented team this year, with a roster filled with players who picked up experience last year.

“We only really lost one senior from last year,” Francis said. “We have that consistency.”

On the attack

The Skiers also changed their attacking formation to try to generate more quality scoring opportunities.

“Last year, Joel Brice scored a lot of our goals,” Francis said. “This year, we know Joel will get his goals. But we need to get goals from other players.”

He said Brice, who scored twice in the first half of the opening victory over Basalt, will draw a lot of defensive attention, opening the field for other scoring options.

John Heaphey, a returning all-conference player for the Skier, blasted a midfield rocket into the back of the net in the first half for Aspen.

Plus, Francis said, the Skiers need scoring from the duo of Jorge Esparza and Ramiro Perez.

“We’re looking for goals from them,” Francis said.

Senior class

He said the Skiers have a strong group of seniors this year including Brice, Perez, Connor Peirce, Garret McNichol, Griffin Stevens, Evan Geishart, Ross Pingatore, Arthur Kelso and Wyatt Feagan.

Sophomore Charlie Van Allen handled goalie duties for the Skiers in this week’s opener.

Fellow sophomores on the Aspen High School roster are Harry Kahn and Guillermo Flores.

Juniors on the roster include Esparza, Oscar Solis, Ilex Cherry, Miguel Diaz, Eric Vargas, Andrew Tierney, Erik Gagen, Nic Vitari, Zac Storm and Nikko Wehse.

Assistant coaches for the Aspen boys soccer team are Stephen Buzbee, Ryan Bennett, Michael Lohr and Jamie Hutchins.

“The guys have been working hard,” Francis said, adding that many of the Skiers played club soccer this year.

“It was good to play Basalt and get a win,” Francis said. “They’ve got a great program with some fantastic players.”

Rams next

He said the Skiers will face a similar rivalry-like match at 4 p.m. next Tuesday when Roaring Fork visits the Aspen School District Stadium.

The Aspen boys soccer team will host Moffat County next Thursday, Sept. 4.