---- — DERRY — The varsity Astros boys soccer team needs to stay healthy in order to succeed this year, coach Kerry Boles said.
Heading into his 21st season at the helm, Boles knows what he’s talking about. He has amassed a record of 233-103-21.
With just five returning starters and one more veteran from last year’s squad, Boles has nine players who have never seen varsity action.
Returning starters include: senior Brian Kling, a 6-foot defenseman/midfielder; senior Chris Horan, a 5-foot-8-inch midfielder/forward; 5-foot-8-inch senior Dustin Beamon who sees action as a forward and midfielder; junior Tim Wood, who at 5 feet 8 inches plays everywhere but goal; and Tommy Martin, another 5-foot-8-inch junior who plays forward and midfield.
Senior Tyler Thibodeau, a defenseman, stands at 5 feet 10 inches and returns for his second varsity season.
But the squad also includes 13 “promising newcomers.”
They are: Ryan Williams, midfield/forward, 5 feet 10 inches, senior; Phil Lerner, midfield, 5 feet 8 inches, junior; Devin Croteau, midfield/forward, 5 feet 8 inches, senior; Alex Horan, goalkeeper, 5 feet 7 inches, senior; Owen Murray, forward, 5 feet 8 inches, senior; Cameron Burke, midfield/defense, 5 feet 8 inches, junior; Matthew Dunn, defense, 6 feet 1 inch, senior; John Hamilton, midfield/defense, 5 feet 8 inches, sophomore; Josh Johnson, forward/defense, 5 feet 10 inches, sophomore; Austin Smith, defense, 5 feet 11 inches, senior; Tom Hanna, defense, 5 feet 8 inches, senior; Justin Sandberg, goalkeeper/forward, 5 feet 9 inches, senior; and Devin Moore, midfield, 5 feet 6 inches, sophomore.
“Hopefully, as the season progresses, those inexperienced players will develop,” Boles said.
Cross-town rival Londonderry High is one of three teams to beat, Boles said. He also mentioned Concord and Central. But, he added, Hanover and Bedford also bear watching.
“It will be vital for our returning varsity players to be good leaders for the rookies,” Boles said. “If we can accomplish that, I think we’ll be OK. Thus far, I really like the work ethic, camaraderie and chemistry of this team. But, we have a long way to go.”
One hundred boys tried out for the Division I team.