Does controversy breed success?
The Wrightstown Tigers Boys Soccer team, under the tutelage of new head coach Wil Krautkramer, sincerely hopes so.
The controversy stems from previous head coach Anthony Ichella’s use of ineligible players. The unfortunate incident has led to a culture around the soccer program causing some of the better players to switch sports to football, or not come out for soccer at all. That culture has the numbers for the program down, and Krautkramer is striving to change that.
“There is still kind of a bad attitude, even going back a few years that they have had. Three coaches in four years will do that,” Krautkramer said. “They just feel kinda down about it and they are hanging on to the grudge a little bit. That is obviously going to affect our play on the field and it has affected our numbers. We lost several solid players to the football team, which makes sense. They are doing really well, and it’s consistent and the soccer team unfortunately hasn’t had that.”
The Tigers will try to build on an 11-11-2 record from last season, which ended with a 3-2 loss to Two Rivers in a regional semi-final.
The Tigers should be explosive offensively, which is a carryover from last season, where they had five different games where they scored 4 goals or more, including one ten-goal games and 2 eight-goal games. Krautkramer also feels that the forwards will be his strength this season.
“Based on the scrimmages we have had, our strengths are going to be up top with our forwards. They have a lot of speed and the can finish pretty well. We also have a lot of familiarity in the midfield, so we should be able to possess the ball a little better this year,” the head coach said. “That will hopefully slow the game down for us while the goalies learn the position. Being they are both freshmen, they are getting thrown in the fire pretty quickly. To start, goalie will be a weak point on the team, and we will have to cover that up with midfield play and solid defense.”
Although some players have moved on to other sports such as football, other dual sports athletes, such as forward James Block, will bring their passion and expertise from their other sport to the soccer pitch in an effort to add soccer success to the accolades already garnered by Wrightstown sports.
“I bring over the desire and the footwork skills and coordination (from hockey),” Block said, winded from running 2 miles before practice. “I think we can have a good season. We don’t want guys to get down on themselves, we want to keep it positive around the field and see what happens. “
In addition to two sport athletes like Block, Krautkramer will have two outstanding foreign exchange students at his disposal, with Adolfo Gutierrez from Brazil and Radek Buss from the Czech Republic, who the coach has high praise for.
“He is technically one of our stronger players. He is very strong on the ball and he can play ANYWHERE. Really excited to see what he can do. He is a Godsend,” Krautkramer said. “He can fill in the holes we have. He is just a solid player.”
Krautkramer is excited about a few other players as well.
“I am really looking forward to seeing Matt Thompson become more of a leader,” he said. “He is our stopper and he controls our defense. I am interested in seeing what forward Adolfo Gutierrez can do up top, along with Jack Berndt.”
Thompson is looking forward to improvement, not so much records, for the coming season.
“I think our number one goal is just to improve, we aren’t going to be looking at how many games we win or lose, just looking to improve over the course of the season,” the midfielder said. “I think our defense will be very strong.”
The Tigers travel to Baraboo for a scrimmage against two Division 1 soccer programs, Baraboo and Prairie Du Chen. Their conference schedule starts Monday, August 20th at home against Southern Door. Game time is 4:30.