Auburn Hills Avondale’s Corey Alonso, left, and Izzy Donaghy go through a drill during a recent practice. Despite the weather and a break in the action, the Yellow Jackets have started the season off strong.

Auburn Hills Avondale’s Corey Alonso, left, and Izzy Donaghy go through a drill during a recent practice. Despite the weather and a break in the action, the Yellow Jackets have started the season off strong.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Yellow Jackets off to early buzz

By: Timothy Pontzer | Troy Times | Published April 10, 2018

TROY — Although it’s April, arctic temperatures and flurries have kept many local soccer teams off the pitch.

For Doug Steinard, the lack of spring conditions has not restricted his club from suiting up. At press time, the Auburn Hills Avondale soccer team was 3-1 overall.

“Regardless of the cold, we try to get out there,” Steinard said. “We’re lucky to have a turf field, so we try to play as much as possible. I talk to some other coaches and they’re amazed we’ve already played four games. They’re stuck at only one or two.”

Steinard said he is highly pleased with the early progress of the Yellow Jackets, a span that has seen the club only surrender three total goals. Two of those came in the season’s lone loss to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

“We’ve had some really good results. I’m really happy with our willingness to compete and play the way we’ve talked about in the offseason,” Steinard said. “We’ve been very organized defensively so far. I think that’s the reason we’ve only given up three goals.”

Steinard reflected on the campaign’s start while most of his roster was on vacation during the spring break period. He believes this year’s recess came with pros and cons.

“Spring break is always a Catch-22. It came at both a good and bad time this year,” Steinard said. “We were starting to get pulled (hamstrings) and quads because of the cold, but (it’s) bad because we were playing in a bit of a rhythm.”

Now in his sixth year at the helm of the Yellow Jackets, Steinard thinks an early willingness to play amongst the snowflakes and brisk wind could give his side a leg up.

“The way it’s worked out, we’ve been able to play a few games already and work some things out,” Steinard said. “We’re not the most athletic team in the world. For us to get into track meets with long ball after long ball would not be beneficial.”

Steinard said he will lean on a trio of experienced players this season. He pointed to senior midfielder and team captain Emma Koverstein (four years on varsity), senior midfielder Corey Alonso (four years) and junior forward Kate Silverman (three years).

“Kate will be getting most of our goals this season. She’s gifted up front,” Steinard said. “Corey is one of our top playmakers. Emma is a great kid; she comes from a great family. As captain, she’s extremely hardworking and a lot of the kids look up to her. She’s kind of a mom of the team, doing everything from organizing conditioning to pasta parties.”

Last season saw Avondale finish at 8-8-4, falling in the district semifinals. The club maintained its place in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

“Last year was the first year in my time here that we didn’t get to a district final, so we’d like to make it back there,” Steinard said. “As for the league, we’d like to be competitive. The past two years, we’ve scraped our way through and just gotten through without being regulated. We’ve had to win on the last day of the season to stay up two straight years. I’d like to do it without all the drama and stress this year.”

Avondale will next see action with a pair of road trips, taking on Oxford High at 7 p.m. April 12 and Warren Cousino at 6:30 p.m. April 16. The next home contest will be April 19 against Berkley High.