How well can a team do with mostly inexperienced and young players? It was rough last year for the Weed High School soccer team, which posted a 1-12-2 record.
First year coach Mike Gilmore is looking to improve on that record this season, and with most of the players coming back he has that opportunity. 
Gilmore, the boys golf coach at Mount Shasta High in 2007, is bringing in a new strategy and attitude.
As of right now, Weed has 14 players out for the soccer team with six returning starters, including three seniors. All together there are seven seniors, two juniors and four freshman on the roster. 
The experience players gained last year should give them an edge in some contests.  Schools like Mount Shasta and Fall River will pose a threat like always. Mount Shasta is coming off its second straight league title and is shooting for a three-peat. 
“I think we can give the Bears a run for their money,” Gilmore said confidently.
Weed’s returning seniors are stepping up to be leaders for the younger players. They are helping to facilitate the growth of rookies, including the coach. 
Like other teams in the league, the Cougars are bound by a rule change this year: at least two girls on the field at any given time or the team plays down an athlete.  Gilmore has  four strong female athletes on his roster, so he isn’t worrying about the changes. 
Returning senior midfielder Lori Garcia is looking strong this year to make the all-league team; she was honorable mention last year. In 2007 she was second on the team in assists. 
Senior defender Casey Weidman and newcomers Alexandria Wallace and Nicolette Neel round out the list of female players. Weidman comes back to improve on her season, even though she did get plenty of playing time in 2007. Neel played volleyball last year but wanted to try her skills at soccer. Wallace is also new to the squad and, according to Gilmore, has a lot of potential. 
“Having females playing all the time won’t affect us,” Gilmore said. “We aren’t going to lose anything when any of them are on the field.” 
Last season’s returning senior Omar Fernandez was the team’s second leading scorer and played goal keeper most of the season. In 2008, Fernandez will be looking to score more goals as Gilmore plans to use him as a starting forward.
Fernandez will be replaced in the box by sophomore Beto Sanchez, who was the second string goalkeeper last season and had a good year. 
All-league selection Jose Luquin is also returning for the Cougars this season as their man up front. Luquin was first last year in assists for the Cougars.     
Gilmore says the team has a great attitude and respect for one another. “We are looking forward to this year and being a strong contender for the league championship,” the coach said.