With 10 of his 18 players being freshmen, Gahanna Christian Academy boys soccer coach Brandon McCoy realizes he will have to combine teaching with coaching this season.

With 10 of his 18 players being freshmen, Gahanna Christian Academy boys soccer coach Brandon McCoy realizes he will have to combine teaching with coaching this season.

The Eagles got off to an 0-5 start last season, but finished 8-10-1. They opened the Division III district tournament with a 2-1 win over West Jefferson before losing to Columbus Academy 5-1 in the second round.

"I believe we'll start the season a whole lot better this year than we did last year," said McCoy, who is in his seventh season with the Eagles. "We have a lot more talent than we did last year. I think we'll be at least .500. I'm hoping for at least a 10-win season."

Gahanna Christian returns seven players with varsity experience led by senior midfielder Cody Thomas.

"I'm looking forward to the season," Thomas said. "Of all the teams I've played on, this one we enjoy playing with each other the most. Even though there are a lot of new people on the team, it just seems like we've been able to get along with each other right away and we've been enjoying ourselves while being able to work hard."

Also back are seniors Michael Dixon (forward/midfielder), Kinsey Propst (midfielder), Josh Welk (defender) and Zach Wyant (defender) and juniors Zeke Jugan (forward) and Keegan Parsons (defender). Parsons is expected to take over the sweeper position.

Sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Thomas received valuable playing time last season and is expected to battle freshman Dakoda Ramsey for the starting job. Both players also should see time as a defender.

Senior midfielder/forward Michael Dixon also hopes to contribute.

McCoy expects his talented freshman class to help immediately. Joining Ramsey on the team are Zack Buckles (defender/midfielder/forward), Aalyah Cowan (midfielder/forward), Jared Downing (defender), Connor Dyckes (midfielder), Connor Mcclellan (midfielder/forward), Harrison Moshier (defender/midfielder/forward), Josh Ohm (defender/midfielder/forward), Micah Sauder (forward) and Joseph Schoen (defender/midfielder).

"We're happy because we have 18 out this year compared to 12 last year," McCoy said. "Numbers-wise, that's helping us a lot. This is the first year to have double digits of freshmen. Over 50 percent of the team is made up of freshmen. There's going to be a lot of learning, a lot of coaching, a lot of patience, but they are very talented. They are probably the most talented group of freshmen we've had."

McCoy hopes his team can contend for the MOCAL championship. He considers defending league champion Madison Christian to be the team to beat.

"I'm hoping to make a run at the MOCAL crown," McCoy said. "With Madison Christian up there, there's definitely some good competition this year."

Last season, Gahanna Christian finished fifth in the MOCAL at 1-3-1, behind Madison Christian (5-0), Grove City Christian (3-1-1) and Tree of Life (2-1-2) and ahead of Northside Christian (0-5).

"This year we have more talent," Cody Thomas said. "We have a lot of new people, especially a lot of freshmen. We have a lot of different people coming in playing different styles of formations, but once we can all get together on the same page, I think this team can do some really good stuff. I'm looking for a lot better start this year than we did last year."

Schedule

Aug. 28 at Liberty Preparatory

Sept. 3 vs. Wellington

Sept. 4 vs. Horizon Science Academy

Sept. 7 at Liberty Christian

Sept. 9 at Liberty Union

Sept. 11 at Harvest Prep

Sept. 14 vs. Torah Academy

Sept. 18 vs. Fairbanks

Sept. 20 at Granville

Sept. 21 vs. Fisher Catholic

*Sept. 23 vs. Tree of Life

*Sept. 24 at Fairfield Christian

*Sept. 30 vs. Delaware Christian

Oct. 2 vs. East Knox

Oct. 4 at Marion Pleasant

Oct. 11 at Worthington Christian

*Oct. 12 at Madison Christian

*Oct. 14 vs. Grove City Christian

*MOCAL game