New culture brings very different results for Mead boys soccer

(Photo courtesy of @mead_soccer on Twitter)

Coming into the 2019 boys soccer season, Mead had seven total wins in the program's history. So far this season, the Mavericks have eight wins. Just in league play.

Arguably the early favorite for the turnaround team of the year, Mead has been good this year. Not good in comparison to past years in their program, but good in terms of overall performance. Make no mistake, this is no fluke either. This isn't a perfect storm of athletes that just happened to come together to give the program a lift at the right time.

The Mavericks (10-4 overall, 8-1 Class 3A Patriot) worked for it.

"It all started in the summer with these boys," coach Shane Adler said. "They made a big culture shift and changed their mindset and the way they approached day to day practice and work. They didn't want to be that team that was at the bottom and kept losing and only won two games in three years."

The work paid off, but it took a little bit of time. The Mavericks won two of their first three games of the season, but then hit a little bit of a skid. They went on a three-game losing streak and for the briefest of moments, it looked like 2019 was going to be no different.

On Sept. 19, the team hit its turning point of the year. An 8-0 win over Estes Park - in which eight different players scored - started a winning streak that has continued to this day. At the forefront of the offense is the junior trio of Diego Cordero, Fernando Contreras and Sawyer Parker. They've combined for 17 goals on the year and have been essential in what is turning out to be an historic season.

"They're willing to work together," Alder said. "They go out there and they want to play for each other and play for their team. They're not caught up into stats and who has the most goals or who has the prettiest goals. It's just about the team and those three have really embraced that aspect of it."

The other part of the equation is the netminder. Hayden Munro has logged over 1,000 minutes protect the goal and has allowed just 18 shots to get by him.

The Mavericks can score all the goals they want, but if there is no one to stop the opponents from scoring, there is no turnaround season.

"Hayden is huge in goal," Adler said. "He makes the big save whenever we need it. In a game against Liberty Common recently, they were pressing really hard and he just kept making save after save. He has a tendency to step up when our team needs him."

Typically a 4A school in team sports, Mead is playing down to 3A in order to gain momentum for its program. The general hope is that the results are exactly what everyone is seeing. Among most things it provides enthusiasm for a program that has struggled to gain traction since it started in 2014.

"We're moving forward and moving up," Adler said. "We're getting the right kids in the program and we're getting kids that want to play for Mead and represent their school."

And with the results that they're getting in 2019, they get to represent Mead proudly.