Since Aug. 13 boys high school soccer teams from the area have been working toward today (Friday), the first day of the 2011 season.
Aberdeen and Havre de Grace will get the season under way today as the two meet head-to-head in Aberdeen at 3:30 p.m. Perryville won't see action until Wednesday, hosting Rising Sun at 3:30 p.m.
Here's a look at each team.
Head coach: Bill Wardle (eighth year)
2010 record: 10-6
Top returners: Hunter Murray, Sr., (Midfield); Hunter Haag, Sr., (Midfield/Forward); Kevin Shumaker, Sr., (Defense); Milazim Veseli, Sr., (Defense); Andy Montgomery, Jr., (Midfield/Forward)
Key newcomers: Justin Howard, Jr., (Midfield/Forward); Tyler Green, So., (Forward); Solomon Koomson, So., (Midfield/Forward)
Outlook: "The expectation is that individually as players and coaches and collectively as a team we will always exhibit passion for the game and bring honor and glory to our program's name," said Wardle. "Our strengths will lie in our team-first mentality and our willingness to work hard each and every day to better ourselves not only as individual players but most importantly as a team. The Eagles return four starters this year.
Havre de Grace
Head coach: Sean Smith (fifth year)
2010 record: NA (not available)
Top returners: NA
Key newcomers: NA
Outlook: The Warriors bring back a "junior heavy" nucleus this season fielding just two senior defensemen, no sophomores and a lone freshman newcomer. The Warriors look to be very competitive and move forward on the strength and experience of their core group of returning players, according to assistant coach J.W. Walker.
Head coach: Russell Penner (third year)
2010 record: 1-10
Top returners: Josh Semenkow, Sr., (Defense); Alek Berger, Sr., (Defense); Jake Hudson, So., (Defense): Dakota Dunman, Jr., (Midfield); Ryan Fisher, Sr., (Midfield); Armando Arcole, Jr., (Forward); Cameron Burns, Jr., (Forward); Asa Driscoll, Sr., (Forward/Midfield); Garrett Little, Jr., (Forward)
Key newcomers: Coach Penner said, "I don't want to mention just one name. However, I would like to mention that our freshman class this season is very exciting. They have skill, desire, and heart."
Outlook: "Last season saw us with a new, young team, graduating almost an entire team's worth of players, and we were looking to build towards the future," said Penner. "This season we have most of our players returning. This team basically has one year of experience playing together and that should help them this season. However, there are no easy games on our schedule. We look forward to being competitive this season and continuing to grow as a team. I'm proud of these players for sticking with it after a tough season last year and maintaining positive attitudes. They worked in the offseason and it shows.