By: Erin Sullivan
The South boys’ soccer team began the Reggie Lara era with a bang. The Titans’ ushered in the new era with a victory in the TItan Invite on Sept. 2 according to Lara.
Titans claimed a first place title at their Titan Invite tournament, according to defender Gavin Morse. The win was important because the Titans had not won the Titan Invite in 13 years, according to Morse.
“Everything we had worked for in preseason, the regular season, culminating in a victory like this was just an incredible feeling that I could share with my team,” Morse said.
Lara says that he was unaware that the Titans had not been in the championship for eight years, and had not won in 13. The game was very special and exciting, according to Lara.
“We were playing against a really good team, Wheeling, who was at the time ranked I think tenth in the area, so we had our hands full, but we were able to pull off a 3-2 win,” Lara said. “Seeing the boys really excited at the end of that game, and giving the captains their medals and the captains putting their medals on the rest of the players was really an awesome thing for me to be able to sit back and watch.”
The Titans have a 12-5-3 record as they continue to play teams in and out of their conference. They have also been adjusting from previous Head Coach Seong Ha to Lara, according to Morse.
“Lara kind of takes things from more of a tactical perspective,” Morse stated.“Him and Coach Daniels have really combined to give us the best game plan going into games and they scout the opponent a lot. I just feel really prepared going into games with Lara and Daniels as coaches.”
Lara has connected with his players, and formed strong bonds throughout the season, according to senior goalie Mike Hatfield.
“[Lara] understands our players, and he understands how to motivate them and get them moving when we’re not doing so well and keep us playing well when we are,” Hatfield said. “He understands our strengths and weaknesses.”
After Ha stepped down as the head coach, it opened up an opportunity to coach at a higher level according to Lara.
“Coach Ha had his hands full in terms of working as the head coach for both the women’s and men’s programs,” Lara said. “He wanted to take a step back and do other things, focusing on family and other endeavors like refereeing.”
The Titans look to improve slowly day by day and try to prepare for games as best they can, according to Lara.
“[As a team] we look at film of ourselves and we kind of analyze things that the players could have done better or things that they did really well,” Lara said. “We also sometimes look at scouting film of the teams we’re going to play against. We can look at what they do for certain plays and tendencies that their key players have.”
The Titans have surprised other schools because of the amount of new varsity players on the team this season according to Lara.
“I think last year people knew who GBS soccer was, and they were kind of putting a target on their back because they knew how experienced they were,” Lara said. “A lot of our guys are really not known in the conference or in the area so I think we’re flying under the radar, but we’re getting some positive results.”
The Titans’ conference is tough, but the Titans believe they can compete in the CSL, according to Midfielder Jimmy McMahon.
“This year I’d say a big goal of ours is to one: win that Regional plaque and two: to do well in conference,” McMahon said.
According to Lara, he also wants the team to do well in conference and in the upcoming state tournament, but he cares more about who his players are as people.
“As much as they are really good soccer players, I know that they are really good students in the classroom,” Lara said. “As long as they are good people, I know that this program is in a good place and that they are quality, high-character students here at Glenbrook South who can contribute to the community.”
The Titans are looking to extend their season deep into the playoffs according to Lara. The Titans hit the field next against Leyden on October 17 at the IHSA regional game.