Q/A with boys soccer coach Dustin Holly

Junior+Eduardo+Cerna+is+one+of+Rider%27s+top+players+for+the+2021+season.+

Rene Banda/Rider Media

Junior Eduardo Cerna is one of Rider’s top players for the 2021 season.

Meghan Helton, Copy Editor

Already off to a 4-0 start, the varsity boys soccer team kicked off this season with a top spot in the region. The Rider Chronicle sat down with head coach Dustin Holly to talk about expectations, key returning players, new COVID procedures and more. 

Q: What are your expectations for this season?

A: We should have a good year. It’s going to be a different year just with our ages. We’re kind of old, kind of young. So our expectations for our first non-district games are to gel as a team. And then, as we get closer to district, we’re looking to make a district championship and then see how far we can run in the playoffs.

Q: What is it like having such young players on a varsity team?

A: It’s different because you’ve got some that drive and some that don’t drive. So you can’t make quick changes to practice and stuff because some can get there and some can’t. We don’t take buses to home games, so you have to make sure that those guys who don’t drive have rides.

Q: Who are some of your key returning players this year?

A: Eduardo Cerna, Jackson Redding, Riley Marshall and Brennan Anderson. We got him back from a broken leg. He broke it in the fall and now he’s back to healthy which is awesome and right in time for the season. We just have a lot of guys stepping up, so we have a lot of good ones.

Q: After winning your first four games and claiming the top spot in the region, what’s the next step for the team?

A: We are No. 1 in the region, which is kind of our tradition here. We’re No. 1 in the region just when the coaches vote and things like that. The past four games have been great wins, and I think we’re starting to get a little closer as a team. We’re starting to play and develop just as the guys get to play together on the field.

Q: How do you think COVID has affected the players and their performance?

A: It’s not so much their performance, it’s just the day-to-day stuff that’s changed. Wearing your mask and making sure you’re spread out. Our guys are pretty close so we jog and stretch and do other team-related activities together. And like any other kid, they just want to be close to their teammates and that has changed a lot. We don’t hang out in the locker rooms as much as they did before school and after school. All that social stuff with the team has kind of gone away, which has been sad because it’s always been fun times for those guys to just hang out. It’s just been so different, that the things you used to take for granted has now been so regimented and we have to spread out.