Clawson high girls soccer succeeding under new coach

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published May 6, 2019

 From left, Clawson High soccer captains Raquelle Robbins, Macy Williams and Adyson McCullough are pictured May 2 at practice. At press time, the Trojans were 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

From left, Clawson High soccer captains Raquelle Robbins, Macy Williams and Adyson McCullough are pictured May 2 at practice. At press time, the Trojans were 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

Photo by Jacob Herbert

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CLAWSON — Dan Wickham lived in Clawson for more than 25 years. He graduated from Clawson High in 2003 and played soccer at the school his senior year.

So when the girls soccer coach job opened up, applying to his alma mater was a no-brainer.

 “When I heard the job was opening, it was the only job I applied for or really even looked at,” Wickham said. “I just got back into coaching two years ago, and this job was just really good timing. It was the only place I wanted to go to.”

Prior to Clawson, Wickham spent time at Madison Heights Bishop Foley working as an assistant on both the boys and girls varsity teams. 

Most recently, he was an assistant with Foley’s girls varsity team last season. As a varsity assistant on the Ventures’ boys team from 2004 to 2006, Wickham was a part of two conference championships. He also spent 2005 to 2007 with the girls team, winning two district championships.

Perhaps the biggest thing that Wickham took away from his time at Foley was having a clear and concise structure. Wickham said girls coach Ryan Elchuck, who coaches the girls team at Foley, is the type of coach who likes to do things a certain way. That mantra carried over to Clawson this season, and the results have spoken for themselves.

At press time, the Trojans were 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

“They have been really accepting,” Wickham said of his players. “I do things a certain way. … They bought into it pretty quick and it’s showing. We’re playing really good soccer right now.”

Senior goaltender Macy Williams said there was little to no transition period with a new coach. The team hit the ground running and immediately got to work.

“We all clicked with each other right away. He’s been great the whole season,” Williams said. “He came in here and said, ‘This is the way I’m going to do things.’ We all just hopped on board, and we all got along really well.”

Both the offense and defense have been clicking for the Trojans. The backline, which consists of seniors Raquelle Robbins and Devynn Stepowski, freshman Renata Carlesimo and junior Emma Watson have been strong, helping Williams to six shutouts and just six goals against through 11 games.

The offense has managed to score 56 goals in that same stretch. Junior captain Ady McCullough has 21 goals and three assists and standout freshman Abbey Lodato, who it a multisport athlete at Clawson, has 12 goals and eight assists.

“Abbey Lodato and Ady McCullough are 1 and 1-A as far as team MVP,” Wickham said. “They’re game-changers.”

Wickham said the senior leadership has been another huge component to the Trojans’ play this season. The seniors have had four different head coaches in the past four years, and the fact that they still have interest in playing for the school was not lost on the newest coach.

 “They still show up, and they still want to carry the group,” Wickham said. “They talk to the younger girls. They run practice if I’m running a little behind. They’re a great group, and I’m glad that it’s these seven in my first year. They help me set the tone.”

The Trojans’ final record last season landed at 8-2-7. They won 13-0 over Harper Woods in a Division 3 district semifinal before falling 1-0 to Warren Regina in the district final. Winning the league and winning a district are on the goals list, but with Regina lingering again in districts, the Trojans have that game circled.

“We’re really hoping to win leagues,” Robbins said. “We’ve beat everybody in the league so far, and that’s good. We just have to beat them all again. We also want to beat Regina in the districts. That’s going to be a tough one, but I think we can do it.”

Call Sports Writer Jacob Herbert at (586) 498-1062. Follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports.

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