LAURINBURG — After a season of transition under first-year head coach Danny Gallagher, Scotland High’s boy’s soccer team is eager to get back on the pitch.
Gallagher followed in the footsteps of longtime Scotland coach Colin McDavid, who is now Hoke County’s head soccer coach. Currently a teacher at Springhill Middle School in Laurinburg, Gallagher was previously a middle school and travel team soccer coach in the Chapel Hill area. His first year at Scotland was the first time he’s coached soccer at the high school level.
Gallagher spent much of his first year learning the ropes and determining which methods would work best in getting through to his players.
“I was just trying to figure out what’s going to get these kids to generate the passion and the desire to be successful,” Gallagher said. “Last year was a transition year, there was a lot of positives in just trying to figure out where we wanted to go with the program.”
With the NCHSAA mandated dead period still in effect, Gallagher goal is keep his team fit before tryouts begin.
“They stop playing in October or November and then they don’t touch a soccer ball, a lot of them, until Aug. 1 again,” Gallagher said. “We want to get them to where they’re going to play more frequently and independently.”
As he continues to build his program, he wants to instill hard work ethic into his players, while also playing technically sound soccer.
“We’re trying everyday to incorporate a lot of individual technical skills, where they’re comfortable with the ball with all different parts of the body, and where they’re consistently accurate in their passing,” Gallagher said.
The first tryout session will be held at Scotland High on Aug. 4 at 8:30 a.m., leaving little time for practice between the first scheduled game, at home against Seventy-First on Aug. 18. Gallagher will emphasize fitness during the first few weeks of practice, and wants to see how his players react to the exercise and running before coaching the more advanced aspects of the game.
“We’ll spend a lot of time at the beginning working on fitness, and the technical aspects individually,” Gallagher said. “After about a week-and-a-half, we’ll start incorporating more tactical stuff like where they need to be and what they need to be doing.”
Now that Gallagher has laid the ground work for how the program will operate, he is anxious to see how his second season as coach will play out. Scotland is set to play five games in a 10-day span before the end of August, so it won’t take long for his team to know where they stand.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.