Big Red soccer ready for season

PARKERSBURG – To play a numbers game with Parkersburg’s boys soccer program, a person just sits back and shakes their head. In 27 years, the Big Reds are 419-88-63 according to Coach Don Fosselman.

That’s right around a yearly mark of 15-3-2 record. There are 10 state championship appearances with six state titles won. And while bringing home a trophy from the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament is nice, it’s not the trophy the Big Reds would have preferred to have -the state championship trophy. Two years in a row, Parkersburg has brought home the runner-up trophy. The 2014 goals are the same for the Big Reds – get to the state tournament, get to the finals, get the state championship trophy.

“There are high things expected yearly out of the Parkersburg soccer program,” Fosselman said. “That’s a good thing… and a bad thing at times. Good because it means we’re successful. Bad at times because it means we’ve been successful and are expected to continue that way. It puts the pressure on the kids year in and year out.”

The Big Reds where 19-2-3 in 2013 with 105 goals scored and allowing 24. Graduation took away 50 of those goals – most notably the 15 goals and 17 assists from first team all-state player Tyler Bro. Also gone are the 20 goals and 15 assists from West Virginia Midfielder of the Year Evan Rhodes along with the loss of West Virginia Goalkeeper of the Year Reid Strobl.

Back are 11 lettermen for Parkersburg with Fosselman stating “16 or 17 Big Reds could see action in a tight game. We have a roster full of good players.”

Parkersburg opens Saturday with a 2 p.m. game at Stadium Field against Wheeling Park. A junior varsity match begins at noon.

Fosselman has a new, but not untested, group of defenders for 2014. “We graduated all our defenders with the exception of Adrian Burk,” he said. “Cameron Fosselman, Jack Johnson, Chris Nyowe, Parker Miller… all of these are going to see time back there. We’re going to play a lot of kids. We should be pretty solid,” he added as he nodded his head. “We should be very competitive.”

The Big Reds return players combining for 55 goals with first team all-stater Tommy Logston, who had 21 goals and 16 assists. Matt Powney had 19 goals and 10 assists. Immanuel Opoku-Duah had 11 goals and three assists as a freshman last year with Hunter Hill scoring six goals with an assist. Powney and Hill are the captains for the Big Red season.

“I’m looking for big things out of kids like Travon Nelson and you can go right down the roster with Drew Strobl, Alec Milhoan, Ian Schmidt, Branson Dils, Kyle Goodwin, Nathan Holland in the net and Brett Beckley as his backup…. There’s Matt Runyon, Brian Runyon’s (a Parkersburg All-American) brother, who is a talented freshman.”

He also mentioned seniors Conner Nesselrode, Logan Hughes and Kyle Carpenter can be in at any time. “I’ve got Austin Lewis and Justyn Tennant, who can have minutes.

“Morgantown is going to be really good,” he added. “Park is always good and Huntington, Hurricane, George Washington… We’ve played them in championship games so you know its programs are good. We have depth, we have players. Our main goal has been to replace our defenders, our last line of defense aside from the goalie. We do that, we’ll be OK.”