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Kofa looks to get back to state
Despite an undefeated run at home last year, the Kofa Kings were forced to stay in the castle during state.
Kofa had to forfeit two games late in the season which caused them to miss the tournament. Going into this season, Nicewander isn't focused on any team in particular, but just having his team focus on what's right in front of them.
“There's no doubt the guys want to have a great season,” Nicewander said. “And for us, we always say the same thing win or lose after a game. You're only as good as your next game. If you won or lost it, it's behind you. You have to focus on just that one game. We're not focusing on playing San Luis, we're not focusing on playing Cibola, we're thinking about playing whoever's first on our schedule, and after that game we'll focus on whoever's next on our schedule.”
After being plagued by injuries early in the year, the Kings started to turn it on with some big, shutout wins against Cibola and Yuma High.
“By the second half of the season, we were on a roll,” he said. “We came up with some big wins and we were just clicking away, just bam, bam, bam. It was unfortunate these guys didn't get to showcase themselves last year, but they're going to try to make up for that this year and come out banging.”
Two key players for the Kings will be Ivan Masqueda who Nicewander described as their “engine,” and Jesus Felix his “creative” striker. They have not surrendered a regular-season loss on their home field in three years, and they don't plan on doing it anytime soon.
“The guys have a lot of pride,” said head coach Jamie Nicewander. “There's a lot of pride here for Kofa soccer. It's definitely supported as well, the players work hard year around. It's not the idea of an athlete going three months out of the year. That's not how it is anymore.”
Nicewander isn't sure why more teams don't emphasize their home field advantage.
“It should be everyone's advantage,” he said. “When you go into a home field, any place you play it should be an advantage of some kind. We're lucky to have great supporters, the Kofa fans come out, we also have a lot of pride. Pride's an important part of that. Our guys understand the idea that playing for a home crowd is supposed to mean something. It should anytime you put on a Kofa jersey, but even more when you're playing for your home crowd. The teams that are really competitive know that. They know that when you step out on that field, it's your field, they're coming into your house.”