By Marty Farmer
Trinity soccer coach Kyle McClure has a proven plan in place to put the Blazers on a winning path. A little luck of the Irish might help as well.
McClure is also the St. Patrick High School boys coach. In just four years, McClure has guided the Shamrocks from two wins in his debut campaign to current rankings of No. 1 in the Chicago area and No. 8 in the state.
"My hope is to similarly turn the Trinity High School soccer program into one of the best and well-respected soccer programs in the area within the next few years," McClure said. "Our goal is to improve over last season, both in terms of win total and style of play. Our main focus is to motivate the players to want to continue playing after the season ends. Because we are so young, we know we will be a lot better next year."
After finishing 6-13-1, including a record of 0-6 in the GCAC Red in 2018, Trinity has already shown improvement under McClure at 6-7 this spring.
While, Loyola, Mother McAuley and St. Ignatius are the contenders to win conference this season, Trinity is heading in the right direction.
Trinity's top returners include junior midfielder Natalia Guerra, junior forward Kaitlyn Poulsen and freshman midfielder Bridget Whiteside. Guerra and Whiteside play for Chicago Fire Juniors and Chicago Empire FC, respectively, while Poulsen recently returned to the lineup after an ACL injury.
"Natalie is very versatile and has excellent ball control and good speed," McClure said. "Kaitlyn is a strong, physical player with a very strong kick and excellent shot. Bridget is a freshman who plays like a seasoned senior."
Junior Cristina Olmos and sophomore Jacqueline Ostiguin are capable goalkeepers.
"Our strength is that we are a young varsity squad and program," McClure said. "We only have two seniors in the program so there is a lot of upside. We need to improve on our overall conditioning."
Senior forward Deana Sannicandro (2018 graduate) and midfielder Courtney Yungerman (transferred to Fenwick) were the Blazers' most significant losses last season.
While previous coaches had offseason plans for the team, establishing Trinity as a powerhouse program will be a year-round endeavor for McClure.
"We will be starting up a summer camp, as well as participating in a summer league and Iowa soccer tournament," he said. "We also need to start attracting more club soccer players to the school, as well as better encourage more of our current players to participate in club soccer."
The Blazers just finished competing in the PepsiCo Showdown, the largest high school girls soccer tournament in the country. Trinity capped off the tourney with a victory over Niles West. Tied at 3-all with the Wolves after regulation, the Blazers won on penalty kicks, 4-3.
"We were placed in a tough bracket, but I love the exposure it provided the players," McClure said. "The tournament also places an emphasis on giving back."
Trinity takes on host De La Salle, Saturday, April 20. The match starts at 9 a.m.