By Tony Burns
El Dorado will host the Simmons First/Larry’s Pizza Invitational Soccer Tournament today at Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats open play at 8 a.m. against Monticello, which will be the start of a busy day for Coach Neville Matthews.
Matthews, long-time girls coach at El Dorado, will coach both teams this season. He’s coached 12 teams at a time during club soccer but, still, he doesn’t like coaching both varsity teams.
“No. I don‘t. I’ve been a girls coach for so long, I don’t feel like I’m giving them a hundred percent. I might miss some tweaks I need to make,” Matthews said. “I’m just helping out until they can find a boys coach.”
El Dorado opened the season Tuesday in the rain at Monticello. The Lady Wildcats won 5-0 and the Wildcats tied 3-3.
For the Wildcats, this season could be a work in progress.
“For the boys, I’m still evaluating the team. There’s tons of talent on the team. I mean, there’s a lot of talent on the team,” said Matthews, who replaced Kris Borosvskis.
“I just have to get that right chemistry and that right jell. I’m still trying to figure them out because my system is different from what they’re used to.
“I’m trying to teach them some stuff and trying to put my twist on it. I had a good base to start with, a good starting point. But, to get them to play as one unit, that’s the biggest challenge.
“The girls are pretty young. They’re talented and they’ve got a lot of technical skills. We’ve got to get that right jell.
We lost some seniors last year. We’ve got some young kids coming in that are making an impression. We finally have a real striker up top.”
Hannah McCallister was home-schooled after moving to El Dorado last year.
She could provide a boost for the offense.
“She looks pretty good up top,” said Matthews.
The tournament includes Sheridan, Warren and Monticello. The Wildcats are scheduled to play at 8 a.m., 12:40 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. The Lady Wildcats are scheduled to play at 9:10 a.m., 1:50 p.m. and 8:50 p.m.
“It’s just a good warm-up for the season. The competition will be (good) especially Warren,” said Matthews.
“Warren was pretty good last year in the tournament. That should be a pretty good challenge, and, I’m talking boys, right now. It should be a good warm-up for the season, work out any kinks we might have.”