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New coaching structure looks to lead Mitchell soccer teams

In his second season with the Mitchell High School boys soccer team and first with the girls program, head coach Jason Wear has put in place a coaching structure that should benefit both the boys and girls varsity teams this fall.

"It's been really easy because I have a great coaching staff underneath me," Wear said. "Together we think up the plan and we execute it. We add input when needed."

Assisting Wear are coaches Josh Paulson, who helps with the girls, and Eric Fjerestad, who helps with boys.

"Both coaches understand what they need and have assistants to help them run drills," Wear said.

Both the boys and girls soccer teams started practice on Aug. 7, per the sanctioned South Dakota High School Activities Association guidelines, and both teams open the season today in Pierre. The girls game is at 4 p.m. and the boys follow at 6 p.m.

Wear said he has been doing a lot of the same preparation for both teams going into the the first game.

"You follow the process no matter who you coach," Wear said. "That process is don't rush it, start with the basics, expand, expand and then expand again, until we see it on the field."

Boys look to keep improving

The Mitchell boys finished 2013 with a 2-9-2 record, which was an improvement on the 1-9-1 record in 2012.

"Wins, losses and ties, I wouldn't predict, but I know we are going to improve," Wear said. "We're going to be better, we're going to compete. We are young and thin on experience, but we have good players."

The team lost six seniors to graduation and returns two seniors for this year. Wear said he lost all five of his primary defensive players, including goalie Cole Carlson from last year, and it will be tough to replace all that experience.

"It's hard to replace," Wear said. "We have to make sure we develop our young players correctly and not rush them."

Mitchell will count on captains Isaac Novak, a senior center midfielder, Seth Paulson, a sophomore center back, and Caleb Larson, a junior outside midfielder. Wear added sophomore forward Kelby Escobin is another player the Kernels will depend on throughout the season.

Girls return seven seniors

The Mitchell girls varsity team returns seven seniors to the team that finished 3-9-1 and just missed making the state tournament last season.

"It's the same situation with the girls. We are going to be thin and young," said Wear, who took over for last year's head coach Kayla Braffet. "We do have some seniors, but overall, we are young team."

The girls will look for center midfielders, senior Emily Paulson and junior Kayla Stangeland to help lead the team and look for junior Kristen Pistulka in the net at goalie.