The Albia High School soccer team begins the 2018 season under new leadership as Aaron Koester takes the reins. He replaces Gary Gravert, who started the program 17 years ago and led the Blue Demons to state tournament appearances.
Coach Koester comes with a great deal of experience having coached the Ottumwa High School team and the having worked with the Albia traveling teams for five years and served as a volunteer assistant last year.
The Blue Demon team will have simple goals adhering to the old coaching adage “take ‘em one at a time.” Coach Koester said, “Our first goal will be to win the first game.”
Albia will have 15 returning letter winners. Seniors returning with starting experience will include Emilio Palomares who led the team in goals in 2017; Devin Robinson, a midfielder; Brandon Persons, midfield and defender; Adam Henderson, defender; Ben Mason, defender; Hayley Bassett, defender and Jon Gualtieri, defender, midfielder, and goalie. Other seniors with varsity experience are Jaeden DeBus and Rebecca Parks.
Juniors with varsity experience include Carson Stocker, a starter from 2017, and Cole Folkerts. Other juniors on the team are Paula Montagut, a foreign exchange student from Spain, Yash Saboo, a foreign exchange student from India, and Trevor Scholtus.
Returning letter winners in the sophomore class include Gavin Shaw, Trevor Cloyed, Ian Greiner, and Adam Waber. Other sophomores looking to contribute are Michael Thomas and Alex Jessop.
The freshman class has a number of experienced players looking to contribute early including Jackson DeMoss, Gage Shaffer, Ben Leshen, Landon Noe, Austin Stanley, Travis Sheffield, David Fisher and Zach Lawrence as well as Max Teno and Matteo Bender. “We have a lot of underclassmen who have experience in traveling squads and who have a chance to help us on varsity,” said Coach Koester.
The opening game of the season will be April 2 as Albia takes on Pella Christian at home.