THE Limestone Coast soccer season fast approaches and Blue Lake Soccer Club is raring to go, with Jared Vause and Tristan Guess ready for a joint coaching effort in 2019.
Vause was impressive in the head coach role last year and the Rangers made the preliminary final, with hopes for another successful season ahead.
A co-coach setup has been put in place this year, as Vause is set to move overseas in August, with Guess to take the reins of both senior teams from there on.
For Guess, the added responsibility of coaching both A Grade and Reserves will be a challenge, but one he is excited about.
“It is quite daunting,” he said.
“Jared is a very good coach and is quite knowledgeable, so I am going to have to rattle his brains before he leaves.
“But it is a good challenge and I am looking forward to it.”
With the pre-season cup kicking off in a month’s time, Vause said the attendance at training is beginning to pick up, but the club will still lack numbers in some areas.
A few losses to the 2018 lineup will weigh heavily, but the club is optimistic it can remain competitive.
“A few players have gone to Adelaide and a few have gone overseas, while we have not really picked up anyone new,” Vause said.
Despite the player losses, Hayden Cutting has announced he will don the blue strips again, returning to the club after a season at Apollo.
“He has been playing really well and is a guy who really puts in at training,” Vause said.
“We are hoping for some good things from him this year.”
Vause remains confident the Rangers can hold their own this season and like many clubs will rely on some junior talent to bolster the ranks.
The Under 17’s will be led by former A Grade coach Rajko Kuzmanovic and may act as a feeder into the senior ranks.
“If some of our juniors step up we can still have a very good year and be competitive in all of the grades like we were last year,” Vause said.
“I think we always have a lot of heart at this club.
“We are a workman’s club I guess, we try and get the job done by putting in effort and trying to the last minute.”
Guess will be looked to on the field as well, with his efforts earning him a place in the 2018 team of the year.
Si Pler and Yuki Akita will also be out to back up successful seasons, with the latter the leading goal scorer for Blue Lake last year.
Young-gun Fraser Howard will play his part for most of the season, but will move away in the second half.
However, Vause is confident he will return to play finals if the opportunity presents itself.
The heaviest losses for the team are Sam Richards and Jacob Ellis, who have shifted to Adelaide and Sydney respectively, while Andy Costin has moved overseas, although injury saw him on the sidelines for most of last year.
Despite these blows to the roster, both coaches are eager to start the season and build on the success of 2018.
“We are just looking to continue on from last year, we had a really successful season,” Guess said.
“We have a good core group and we just have to build on that and keep pushing on the door of Centrals, Apollo and Inter.
“We do not want to just make it into the top four again, we want to be a force to be reckoned with.”
With the cup to start on March 31, Blue Lake will have the bye in round one, with its first game set for April 7 against Naracoorte.