WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – What a difference one year can make.
“Last year was rock bottom,” said head coach Anthony Ledenko. “I believe it was the worst season in Kennedy soccer history. I played here and when we were here, we never did anything like that. We always did well. So, it was basically like, ‘Guys, it can’t get worse. We literally have nothing to lose because we literally lost everything.'”
This season, the Eagles were crowned conference champions and are headed to the postseason after going 9-5-1.
To turn things around, the Eagles added nine new players to their roster this season, including three baseball state champions.
“Two of them, they’ve played before in the past,” Ledenko said. “Then the one, our goalie, doesn’t even know what soccer was before he came into here. It’s been a process. If you saw us from day one and looked at us from the last game we played, you would think we were two different teams. All three of those guys, especially Nico, our goalkeeper, they took to the challenge and said, ‘You know, I’m ready to get better,’ and they come here every day ready to work.”
“With everything new, you can’t grasp it right away, but with time and effort and my coach, Justin, really helped me,” goalie Nico Ciminero added.
But the Eagles aren’t satisfied with a conference title. They are eyeing a deep postseason run.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot of improvements to be made for next year and for the playoffs actually to match the level of competition we might be seeing,” said senior captain Sam Bolino.
Warren JFK will host Champion in the first round of the postseason this Saturday at 4 p.m.