The Centennial Coyotes are making their way to the state tournament with leadership from goalkeeper Brian Kelly and mid-fielder Jensen Schell and the help of their entire team. Head coach Steve Ybarra said that both of the boys have tremendous talent on the soccer field.
“Jensen came into this program as a starting freshman and earned all-state honors his sophomore and junior season,” Ybarra said. “His success has been a good example for our entire team.”
Ybarra said Kelly is a prime example of what hard work can really do for an athlete.
“Brian has showed huge improvement from last season,” Ybarra said. “He is a prime example to this team to show them just what hard work can do. He can show his team that if you work hard and earn your way up, you will be in his position. That is exactly what Brian did. He earned his way up from the junior varsity level.”
Ybarra said this year's team lacked experience at the varsity level.
“We began with five new starters on the field, which made it difficult to adapt,” he said.
At the beginning of the season, the Coyotes struggled to finish out an entire game.
“We could not overcome our mistakes in the beginning, but now we are starting to progress and have been since the start of the season,” Ybarra said. “Now, as the season begins to wind down, we are making fewer mistakes and capitalizing on our opponents' mistakes.”
Ybarra said Kelly and Schell have helped the Coyotes out tremendously.
“Jensen is still not 100 percent coming off an ACL injury, but he is progressing and Brian is more confident in the net,” Ybarra said.
Kelly and Schell have been playing soccer together since the age of 4, when they participated in USA Soccer. Schell has focused this entire season on progressing with his injury.
“Ever since I tore my ACL at the end of last season, it has set me back,” Schell said. “I have devoted this season to getting stronger every game since this is my last high school season.”
Kelly has focused on using his high school season to work on his technique in the net.
“I use this time to work on things I need improvement on,” Kelly said. “I am trying to get recognition from any colleges that I can.”
Schell is one of the Coyotes captains and said his job is to organize the team as well as communicate with his teammates to make sure that the job is done right.
“Sometimes players do not want to hear about their mistakes from coaches, so as a captain, I try to help them out the best that I can,” he said.
As the goalkeeper, Kelly said that it is his job to be as vocal as possible. Although he is not a captain, leadership comes naturally to him and as the eyes of the field as the last man back, he feels that it is important to help out his entire team.
Schell is easy to notice on the field with his quickness on the ball and his ability to challenge people in the air. He is confident on the ball and is comfortable holding onto it until a teammate can open up to receive his pass.
Kelly's strength is that he can cover over half of the goal on a dive attempt to save a ball. Most teams underestimate him because of his size, but he is quick to fall to the ground as well as moving laterally.
Schell is hoping to earn a spot on the all-region and all-state team at the completion of the season while Kelly wants to stop as many balls as possible to pull out a Coyote win.
Both of the Coyotes are still in the process of being recruited and are uncertain of where they will end up. But they are certain they will continue on to college and pursue a soccer career as a collegiate athlete.
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