PROSPER — The Prosper boys’ soccer program is finally back on the field after a long offseason of preparation and recovery. The last time the team saw the pitch was in the 2017 post-season back in April, when they dropped a heartbreaking loss in penalty kicks to Lovejoy in the second round.
Despite the loss, head coach Ryan Rogers has since mustered up an incredibly experienced roster ready to avenge the early departure from last season, and earned regional recognition by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches, who named Prosper as the number 5 team Region II 5A.
The quest for redemption began on their home field with the Prosper Showcase on Jan. 4. The tournament included four teams: Prosper, South Garland, Wylie and Dallas A+ Academy.
The host team opened the tournament on Thursday, Jan. 4 with an exclamation point, defeating South Garland 5-0 in the first game of the season. The Colonels brought a lot of pace to the Eagles in the opening minutes of the game. Looking to create early turnovers for the home team, South Garland utilized high-pressure tactics to force the Eagles off their game. Despite the early physicality, Prosper patiently built their possession on the Colonel side of the field and were quickly rewarded with a goal by Jack Simonini. The sophomore netted the first score of the season for the Eagles, and the first of his varsity career, after sending a long-range bomb into the upper right corner of the goal. The Eagles followed with goal number two later in the half as senior Chris Nayler-Gress tapped in a slotted cross, taking a 2-0 lead into halftime. The upperclassmen stepped up in the second half as two more seniors found the back of the net — Noah Martinez with two and Cole Fedorczyk with the fifth and final goal.
Game two wouldn’t be quite the cake walk, as Prosper matched up against former district rival Wylie High School. The Eagles held onto the ball well in early possession, but couldn’t seem to create any scoring chances as they did in their previous game. The Pirate defense continued to be a stronghold in the back, denying any Prosper forwards from converting. It wasn’t until late in the half that the Eagles final found a way past the Pirates as senior Xander Shelton flicked on a header past the Wylie goalie. The 1-0 lead looked as if it would hold as the match winner, but Wylie slipped a late equalizer to knot the game at 1-1. With just five minutes remaining, Fedorczyk came up big again for the Eagles as he unleashed a powerful curling shot into the net for the eventual game-winning goal.
The third and final game of the season was much more relaxed after a chaotic second leg to the Prosper Showcase, but it took some time for the Eagles to find a rhythm.
“Coming off the heels of a tough grind-it-out win from the night before, we took a bit to find our footing,” Rogers said. “We finally began to move the ball around the field, and never really looked back.”
Seven Eagle players found the back of the net in the 8-0 blowout against Dallas A+ Academy to close out the tournament undefeated.
Four players now lead the goal-scoring for Prosper — Jack Simonin, Noah Martinez, Talon Timmermans and Cole Fedorczyk. They are now 3-0 on the season, and have allowed just one goal against in the early season.
“It was a good start to our season,” Rogers said about the tournament performance. “We can always improve, but it’s nice to play against someone other than yourself and have some success.”
The boys will head to Denton on Thursday, Jan. 11 for the Denton Tournament against the host school Denton Ryan at 7:30 p.m., followed by Frisco High School on Friday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. and Abilene Cooper on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m.