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Hazel Park

October 31, 2012

Local squads fall in districts; Hazel Park coach see vast improvement

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Vikings coach Tim Travis said he was pleased with the improvement his young squad showed in their 2012 campaign. Pictured is Hazel Park’s Phillip Estell (23) during a game earlier this season.

The boys soccer season has come to an end for the three local teams.

Center Line defeated Hazel Park 5-0 in the opening-round of a district tournament and finished the season at 2-14-2.

Although the Vikings may not have a lot of wins to show for their effort, coach Tim Travis saw some things that aren’t always reflected in a record book.

“I got a lot of effort out of my players this year,” he said. “I was very proud of my team. Some of my kids say I’m a hard coach, but hard work paid off in the end. I couldn’t be happier, having them improve over the season. That’s my biggest thing. The wins aren’t the big point, it’s the improvement I’m really happy with.”

Travis wasn’t the only one who took notice of his team’s improvement.

“I even got compliments from North Farmington from the first time we played them to the second,” he said. “They said they (saw) a big improvement in the team, which was really good. That’s one of the powerhouse teams, and getting a compliment from that coach was greatly appreciated.”

Although they weren’t as big of a threat in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division as Travis hopes they eventually will be, the Vikings did improve on last year’s record of 1-17. He understands that building a program is a process, and while a two-win season is not where he wants to be in the long run, it is a step in the right direction.

Going forward, Travis would like to see that same type of effort.

“Every player on this team has contributed to the improvement,” he said. “I’m hoping to see every one of them back next year, except for (senior) Chris (Mendoza), because he’s going to be moving on. As long as the players keep up with their love of the game and they want to keep playing, I don’t see why we couldn’t do anything but go up.”

Mendoza was the only senior on Hazel Parks’ squad.

Travis said he has an idea of what he is looking for if the young Hazel Park team is going to make its way up in the standings.

“I’m in the process of trying to get these guys not to hang up their cleats at the end of the season and play some indoor (soccer) together,” he said. “Get familiar, relaxed and comfortable with each other, (and get) more touches on the ball. Be ready to compete for next season. It’s like anything: the more you work on it, the more you’re doing it, the better you’re going to get.”

In other local soccer news:
Bishop Foley lost to Birmingham Roeper 5-0, while Lamphere fell to Auburn Hills Avondale 8-0.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.