Coach: Ian Collins.¿Collins spent the past 26 years as coach at the University of Kentucky, St. John’s and Hofstra University and spent the past 21 seasons as a head coach, including 19 at Kentucky, where he went 187-132-38. He has 200 career college victories, won seven conference championships and made multiple appearances in the NCAA¿Tournament, including one Sweet 16 appearance.
Last year: The Cardinals went 7-11-1 last season and lost to Harrison¿County 2-1 in a shootout in the opening round of the district tournament. The junior varsity squad lost just two games and won the two tournaments they participated in last season.
Top returnees: Connor Blankenship, a team captain last season, is the team’s top returning player.¿Collins said he’s been getting to know his team before making final determinations on the roster. “It’s a fight for all places — both varsity and junior varsity.” he said. Also returning are seniors Parker Benson, Jansen Browning, Dalton Gallenstein, Andrew Haggard, Irvin Juarez, Andrew Walker and Mark Wolf. Also back are juniors Alec Carrington, Christian Colvard, Jacob Varner, Luis Villa and Jarod and Justin Maggard.
Outlook: Collins has been busy with the transition and getting to know his team during preseason workouts for the upcoming season, which begins tonight at Lexington Christian. Clark plays its first home game against Scott County Thursday at the Cardinal Soccer Complex. The first-year Clark coach said his team’s “work rate, commitment, team work” are all factors to a successful season. “The players have to raise their level of performance in each game.” Collins said his gola for the upcoming season is for the Cardinals to “be competitive in every game, produce quality soccer, score more goals and improve on last year.” Collins added that every game “will be difficult” and lists Montgomery County as the team to beat in the district. He also labeled Harrison County as a regional favorite. “Every team (will be tough to beat),” Collins said. “We haven’t won the district in a long time.” As for his expectations for his team, Collins wants the Cards to “work hard, be relentless, better defensively and improve the players individually and collectively.”
Today — at Lexington Christian, 7:30 p.m.; 23 — Scott County, 7:30 p.m.; 28 — at Western Hills, 8 p.m.; 29 — at Lafayette, 8 p.m.
1 — at West Jessamine, 7:30 p.m.; 4 — Franklin County, 7:30 p.m.; 5 — Paris, 7:30 p.m.; 7-9 — JV¿team at Madison Central tournament; 11 — Montgomery County; 13 — at Danville, 7:30 p.m.; 15 — Fleming County, 7 p.m.; 18 — at Harrison County, 7 p.m.; 20 — Bourbon County, 7:30 p.m.; 24-26-28 — Larry Raney JV Tournament; 25 — Somerset, 7 p.m.; 27 — at Madison¿Central, 7 p.m.
2 — at Estill¿County, 6 p.m.; 4 — Rowan County, 7:30 p.m.