Despite roster numbers, Rockets show they can play

J. Patrick Eaken

In his eight seasons at Oak Harbor, boys soccer coach Ken Filar has seen his team teams go a combined 101-40-8, and his team has won a league championship in five of those years.
        Filar, a founder of the East Suburban Soccer League Arsenal Soccer Club, also coached the Central Catholic junior varsity three years before coming to Oak Harbor. Despite all that experience, Filar still has his work cut out for him in building a program at Oak Harbor.
        This year Oak Harbor returns 12 lettermen, but that does not mean defending their Bay Division title will be easy, warns Filar. That’s because the other programs are building, too, especially with roster numbers.
        “We have tremendous respect for the teams in the SBC – especially Huron and Edison,” Filar said. “The SBC has come down to our three schools the last couple of years and I expect it will be the same in 2019.  Port Clinton has had a rough time lately with injuries and numbers – but the coaching staff works well with their players and they’re always very competitive.  Willard has come a long way and has upset some of the top league teams every season. 
        “Huron had 50 boys in their program last year and expect them to have the same this year. Edison has continued to grow and develop their program as well. The number of boys soccer players in the youth program at Oak Harbor has continued to decline for multiple years now – but saw some slight growth in 2018. As a result, the Oak Harbor High School boys team only expects to have 21 to 23 players in our program this year.
        “However, we like to set high goals for the boys, classroom, team, and personal, and constantly preach that we need to aim high, work as hard as we can to achieve those goals, and then be satisfied in the end if you honestly gave everything you had to it.  Aiming high typically equals achieving high.”
        Filar believes his team has special qualities which will help see them through.
        “Our team is extremely diverse,” Filar said. “We pride ourselves on almost every player being able to play every position, except goalkeeper, on the field and be serviceable at a minimum.  We focus a lot of time on technical skills and employ a style and system of play in which everyone on the team knows what everyone else’s job is.  We also make sure, starting as freshmen, that the players play multiple positions.  It provides the coaches with several options – and also maximizes playing time for the boys because they can fill in at any position.
        “Despite the number of returning lettermen (12), we are still a very young team.  We only have five seniors and three juniors. Several sophomores will be starting and logging a significant number of minutes this season.  We have two freshmen who will likely see varsity playing time as well – but won’t be thrown into the fire, baring injuries again that plagued us the last two seasons, however and will be able to gain experience – but still have the leniency to fail in the shortened JV schedule we will also be playing.”


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