By Michael Selecky
Coming into the 2018 varsity boys soccer season the biggest challenge for Mexico was coming together under first year head coach William Gleason.
While the Bulldogs did fall twice at the Missouri Military Academy, the first time on the Fighting Colonels Homecoming and the second in the first round of Class 2, District 8, 7-2, on Oct. 23, MMA advanced all the way to sectionals before finally bowing out. The Bulldogs had much better results against North Central Missouri Conference opponents, especially at the start of the season. This includes Aug. 30 when they won 7-3 over Fulton at home and on Sept. 10 Mexico beat Moberly 6-2.
"This being my first season with them I wasn't sure what to expect. We performed better than last year's team so I feel we are on a good path going forward," Gleeson said. "Our final record was 5-15. Last year's record was 4-18."
With the Bulldogs having also defeated Boonville 5-2 on Aug. 27 to start 2017 and Fatima 4-3 on Sept. 13 at Moberly, one of the issues lying ahead for Gleeson and his team is graduation. Specifically, while this issue is far from specific to him, when upperclassmen move on can the current players step up to fill the void that creates.
"Seven seniors are graduating. These seniors have worked so hard throughout their career here at Mexico," said Gleeson. "It will be difficult to replace them especially since most of them are defensive players. We do have some strong JV players coming in that could fill those spots."
Some of the adversity this team faced that kept it from performing at a higher level was that it wasn't at full strength for a good portion of the season. Because of the success the program experienced at the lower level this year Gleeson is optimistic about what lies ahead.
"We had some late injuries that affected or game play. One of our top scorers was out with a concussion for several games and one of our defensive lineman was out for good portion of the season," Gleeson said. "Our JV had a spectacular season this year and I have high hopes that we will be able to continue to improve at the varsity level."