Steamboat Springs Head soccer coach Rob Bohlmann realizes his players are eager to open the regular season.
But that hasn't stopped the longtime coach from asking his players to be patient on the field as they open the 2001 season this Thursday against Alameda at the Alexander Dawson Tournament in Louisville. That tournament will continue Friday and Saturday.
"It's one of the toughest things to do," Sailor midfielder Kyle Nelson said. "This will be our first game of the season and everybody is pretty excited."
The game will be played at 4 p.m. and will kick off Steamboat's 2001 campaign one that both Bohlmann and Nelson are hoping will end with a state title. Steamboat got a chance to scrimmage Battle Mountain, Vail Mountain School and Summit last weekend in Minturn.
"I think the team is definitely looking solid," Bohlmann said. "We got a chance to look at several different combinations in the scrimmage. We still have some things to work on, but the team looked pretty strong."
Still, Bohlmann said the team will be tested this week as they take on the likes of Alameda (10-5 last season), Alexander Dawson, Faith Christian and Bullis High School out of Maryland in the first few games of the season.
While the wins are always important, Bohlmann is stressing that his players concentrate on their own game and their own performance.
"We will be looking at our level of play, not necessarily the win or the loss," Bohlmann said.
It could be a challenging weekend for the Sailors, who could be without the services of Mike Rinn and Todd Bell two of the squad's top scoring threats. Bohlmann added Jason Sirois is also battling an injury but is expected to play this week.
On Tuesday, Bell's situation was still up in the air.
Bohlmann is hoping to have Rinn back by the first league game of the season.
"It was a little hard to build an attack," Nelson said of playing last weekend's scrimmage without many of the top offensive players.
With those top offensive threats on the sidelines, Bohlmann said if the Sailors want to win, they will need to do two things stress defense and ball control.
"The team will need top make the most of its opportunities and our players will have to remain patient," he said.
Bohlmann expects his team to get stronger as the season gets further into the schedule and those injured players start to come back.
Until then, he will take the season one step at a time and expects the younger offensive and his veteran defensive players to step up their level of play in the meantime.