There’s a new head man for Panas, and he knows that there is much work to be done. Brendan Horton has taken over a program that has struggled in recent years, and turning it around won’t be easy. The Panthers didn’t make it out of the outbracket round last season and graduated the core of that team. They’ve already taken some lumps and now sit at 0-2 at this early point in the season, but Horton is hoping that there will be signs of progress as the year wears on.
Here are Horton’s words:
What was your final record last season and where did you finish in the playoffs? 6–11; lost to Peekskill 1-0 in the Class A outbracket round.
Who are your key returning players? With so few returning players from last year’s team, everyone coming back will play a key role in how successful we can be as a team this season.
Who are the key players that you lost to graduation? The 2012 team graduated 13 seniors, many of them very talented players; so it’s almost an entire new starting unit, under a new coach and playing style.
Are you anticipating losing any players to the U.S. Soccer Federation season? No.
What do you consider to be your team’s strengths? We have several players who are excellent on the ball, and we are hoping to translate that into more consistent offensive production than in seasons past.
What are some areas of concern? On the field, we are putting extra work in on our defensive organization and maintaining our shape as a unit. There have been too many goals conceded in previous seasons, and we are looking to fix that. Early in the preseason, everywhere is a concern, but we’ve been spending extra time on our shape and group roles.
Which formation do you anticipate using? We will play primarily out of a 4-4-2 formation.
What is your goal for your team in 2013? Being my first year with the team, I’m looking to improve on 2012’s disappointing season, both in total wins, and in sectional postseason depth. This is year one for me, and we are looking to establish a stronger presence than Panas has shown in previous years.
Who is your biggest rival(s)? Right now, we are fully focused on turning our program in the right direction to worry about circling any specific matches on the calendar. The only way we can build is one match at a time. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was excited for our season opening match with my alma mater and former coach against John Jay East Fishkill.
Up next: Tappan Zee