PORT ANGELES — It was the first day of practice for the Peninsula College men’s soccer team Wednesday and already head coach Andrew Chapman was making cuts.
After three practices in one day — take that football two-a-days — Chapman has a good idea of what he’s looking at.
With games against Canadian powerhouse Victoria in less than four days and a conference game against Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges champion Wenatchee on Sept. 5 at Peninsula, the fourth-year coach doesn’t have time to placate egos.
“We don’t joke around,” Chapman said.
The evidence on the pitch certainly suggests as much.
In front of Chapman is a group that includes several all-state and all-league selections as well as six established sophomores.
Former Sequim High School soccer, wrestling and tennis standout Andy Chinn is just one exceptional athlete in the crowd of 26 to be pared down to 24.
“I’m a two-year all-league player and that’s nothing here,” Chinn said.
“It’s a whole new level.”
It’s a level that has risen consistently since Chapman’s arrival on the Peninsula.
Starting with one win in his first year and culminating with last year’s 11-victory squad, which included the school’s first-ever home playoff game, the arc of Peninsula’s soccer program is well defined.
At this point, Chapman believes the playoffs are where this team’s goals begin.
“Anything less than the playoffs would be disappointing,” Chapman said. “We just have to take it from there.”
While the Pirates did lose a number of players from last year’s team, they do return their top two scorers in sophomores Seth Ransom (seven goals) and Kyle Eshleman (eight goals).
Two other starters returning to this year’s edition include outside midfielder Jason Gomez and defender Brad Groce.
The Pirates do have a gaping hole at goalkeeper, with last year’s starter Rylan Hall moving on to play at Chaminade University of Honolulu.But waiting to fill his position are a couple of decorated athletes in Jeff Leddy (Alaska All-State Tournament team) and Jared Hoffman (Oregon All-State second team).