Wildcat futbol making waves as season crashes in
Energy, experience set the tone for the 2017 season
Do not let his quiet, polite and charming disposition fool you.
Jake Forste, Cassville soccer coach, is a driven and competitive figure when it comes to his sport.
Fans of Sporting KC know Forste as a cheering section leader in the Cauldron, the name for the most raucus area of fandom behind the goal at Mercy Children’s Park. That passion for his team bleeds all the way down to the black and gold clad players that represent Cassville.
Forste set out to reestablish a foundation to build championships at Cassville. He has helped his players become involved in a year-round system that keeps pushing them to improve, and he is hoping those growth efforts in year two will translate to an increase in the win column.
“The sky is the limit for Cassville in 2017,” Forste said. “Although we lost our top-two goal scorers from 2016, we have made dramatic improvements defensively. This is a hard-nosed team that prides itself on defensive excellence. Consistent goal scoring is a bit of a work in progress, but we have several players capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.”
Forste believes that the Wildcats defense will be the strength this season.
“Our tenacious back four, quality goalkeeping, and speed in the midfield will keep us in every game, all season long,” Forste said. “We have made tremendous strides with team conditioning and ball movement, as well as improved understanding of the game and field awareness. Teams on our schedule can expect to see a team with relentless energy and pursuit of the ball.
“Our game speed and ball possession improved with each game last season. This year, we will look to continue our improved pace of play and wear teams down with our speed and timely passing.”
Returning for the Wildcats are: Noah Parsons, Carter Fletcher, Andrew Berndt, Vance Supulver, Kory Harvey and Michael Sommers.
Parsons, a junior, played center back last season and earned Class 2 All-Regional and All-District honors.
Parsons anchored a defense that improved from 5.43 goals against average in 2015 to 2.46 in 2016. He is the Wildcats’ only returning captain.
Fletcher, a junior fullback was selected to the 2016 All-District Second Team. He was awarded Cassville soccer’s most improved player in 2015.
“This year, Carter is moving from a do-it-all role to a full time left back,” Forste said. “Carter is a selfless player who will be part of an improved back line with great chemistry. He is a 2017 captain.”
Berndt, a junior, is described by his coach as a box-to-box midfielder who is quality in all areas of the game.
“He can score, defend, hold up play, or distribute based on team need and game situation,” Forste said. “Andrew is a 2017 captain.”
Supulver, a junior, is the team’s striker.
“Vance was having a great season in goal last year before an arm injury moved him to the midfield for the final 10 games,” Forste said. “This year, he has settled in as the top striker on the depth chart and is a strong candidate to lead the team in scoring. Vance is a 2017 team captain.”
Harvey, is the team’s lone senior and goalkeeper.
“Kory came on down the stretch last season and started the final 10 games in goal,” Forste said. “He proceeded to catch fire, and posted shutouts across his 10 starts, finishing the year with a sub-2.0 goals against average.
Sommers, sophomore fullback, started 23 of 24 games as a freshman last year.
“He is a right back with tremendous speed and vision who can beat his man and push the ball into space at a moment’s notice,” Forste said.
Cassville will also count on contributions from Luis Lara, J.J. Okel, Eder Aguirre, Jazmin Aguirre and Andrew Littlefield.
Lara is a junior center back.
“Luis is a classic ‘sparkplug’ type of player” Forste said. “His energy and enthusiasm, along with a nose for the ball and terrific skill, will allow us to take another step forward defensively in 2017.”
Okel, a junior will patrol the midfield.
“J.J. has a big frame and is a strong, hard-nosed player,” Forste said. “He will be a force in our midfield capable of bodying smaller players off the ball and winning 50/50 balls in the air.”
Eder Aguirre is a freshman defender and striker.
“Eder is a true freshman who will be a four-year starter,” Forste said. “He is a versatile player who will see time as a defensive midfielder, center back and striker. Eder is capable of shielding the back four, winning challenges in space, and leading the attack from the backfield.”
Jazmin Aguirre a junior midfielder had a great summer, according to the coach.
“Jazmin is one of our most technical players and is a phenomenal passer,” Forste said. “Her improved vision and defensive abilities will enable her to be a big contributor in 2017.”
Littlefield, a junior midfielder, is a player that has come a long way in a short amount of time.
“Andrew came to Cassville as a sophomore last year who hadn’t played soccer in a few years,” Forste said. “He improved throughout the season and started several games down the stretch. Andrew has size, speed, and a nose for the ball, which will enable him to build on the three goals he chipped in last year.”
Even the casual fans have begun to notice the uptick in excitement for Cassville soccer. Forste’s ultimate goal is to take his team to the Final Four.
“Cassville has improved greatly in the last year,” Forste said. “Looking ahead, we will take another step forward in 2017. This year, we will field the most complete team Cassville has had in quite some time. We will look to blow past last year’s 11 wins and continue to be a program on the rise.”
Cassville opens the season with the Cassville Kickoff Soccer Classic on Aug. 22.