NORFOLK, Neb - As Chad Miller, Northeast soccer coach, prepares to head both the men's and women's teams this season, he says passion for the game is what drives him.
Miller, who coached the men's squad three years ago and re-assumed the position last year, will also be coaching the women's team, which he has coached since 2016.
"I think I can speak for my coaches when I say that we all just have a passion for it. Every single one of us has a passion for coaching, and even though we get worn down, we finished this first week of practices as strongly as we did at the beginning."
The men's soccer team ended the 2017 season with a 7-12-1 record.
Miller said this is one of the first years the team has had substantial depth in different positions.
"In the past few years, we've been really strong with some of our starters, but then coming off the bench, it wasn't quite up to the same level. But this year, we have more depth, so when we do rotate our players in and out, I don't feel like we'll lose a whole lot. Our talent is a lot deeper than it typically has been."
Sophomore players on the men's roster this year include Leonardo Cruz, Hamilton, AL; Tiago Da Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Edison Delgadillo, Fusagasuga, Colombia; Victor Galterio, Pedreira, Brazil; Trenton Jorgensen, Norfolk; Lagrezio Landim Melo, Brasilia, Brazil; Arthur Mariano Lopez, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Wakisa Mtika, Blantyre, Malawi; Derek Riege, Nebraska City; and Massimiliano Simonazzi, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Freshman players on the squad include Constantine Abels, Papillion; Federico Anzoletti, Chioggia, Italy; Justin Beaird, Hutchinson, KS; Blake Diaz, Papillion; Nickolas Gama, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ricardo Goldner, Brasilia, Brazil; Mario Gonzales, Norfolk; Rocky Guevara, Norfolk; Felipe Guilherme, Brasilia, Brazil; Jared Hammerlun, O'Neill; Manuel Jimenez, Lexington; Breno Neves, Brasilia, Brazil; Jose Ogaz,Broomfield, CO; Javier Rivas, Lexington; Yuri Rocha, Brasilia, Brazil; Victor Vechi, Itajai, Brazil; Brodie Von Dollen, Omaha; Alex Wilcock, Rochdale, England; and Gavin Williams, Norfolk.
Northeast's women's soccer team closed last season with a 12-6 record, a significant improvement over the four wins they had in their inaugural 2016 season.
"We did a huge leap, and now I feel like we really have to keep that winning tradition going," Miller said. "I feel this third year is kind of the telltale year of how (the program) is going to be. Have we found that successful combination to building a team, and can we continue the success that we built on last year? I feel like we've got the right players and have more depth than we've ever had before. I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to be successful and continue what we did last year."
With eight returning players on the women's squad, Miller said the Hawks are "basically a whole new team."
"It's just going to take a little bit for us to get where we want to be as far as possession and speed of play. I think that's going to be key."
Sophomore players on the Hawks women's soccer team this year include Hailey Curry, Elkhorn; Ryanne Lueders, Columbus; Lizzy McCalla, Canon City, CO; Tayler Ohu, Rangeview, CO; Ellie Gess, Papillion; Ashley Reskevicius,Ralston; Emily Simmons, Pierce; Paula Vanegas, Bogota, Colombia; and Alexis Wemhoff, Columbus.
Freshman players are Taylor Boekhout, Elkhorn; Blair Buckingham, Omaha; Emily Goc, Columbus; Wendy Gomez, Schuyler; Danielle Jokerst, Kansas City, MO; Lexi Kucera, Columbus; Katelyn McGill, Norfolk; Madi McKewon, Omaha; Dayla Miller, Papillion; Rylee Olson, Norfolk; Mary Perez, Rangeview, CO; Abby Podraza, Columbus; Lorall Romain, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago; Daisy Rosas, Norfolk; Kyla Ryan, Seymour, WI; Aspen Sharp, Commerce City, CO; Mandy Stricker, Broomfield, CO; Beccah Van Brunt, Cameron, MO; and Emma Weaver, Lakewood, CO.
Nathan Broekemeier, Jordan Miller and Catherine Suckstorf serve as assistant coaches for both teams.
The Northeast men's soccer team will open their fall season on Thursday, August 23, when they travel to Orange City, Iowa, to face Northwestern College. Their first home game is set for Wednesday, September 5, at Veterans Memorial Field in Norfolk, where they will face Central Community College at 7 p.m.
The women's team begins their season on Wednesday, August 22, when they face Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. Their first home game will be held Saturday, September 8, when they host Indian Hills Community College at 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Field.