Despite this week’s frigid temperatures, a sure sign of spring is upon us: The HHS boys’ soccer season is about to begin with the first game at home against Father Ryan on March 12.
Coach Russ Plummer and senior players Camron O’Reilly and Max Cooper recently spoke to The Ville News. Coming off a 14-8-1 season, the three are optimistic about the new year. Their edited remarks are below.
Q What motivates you each season?
Camron: Getting to play with my friends; like me and Max have been friends for four years now. Seeing the guys get out there and just do something they love to do. Oh, and winning! Winning is definitely a motivator.
Max: Just playing for our school, that’s always fun. Seeing everybody come out makes it worth it, and I just love playing.
Q How would you compare this year’s team to last year’s?
Max: We’ve lost some players, but not really that many, and I feel like some of the younger kids have really grown. They’ve gotten much better than they were last year. I think we’ve got a really good shot this year.
Camron: Coach was talking to us in the locker room, telling us that each year the team is different, and he’s definitely right about that. Guys have matured this year; the juniors and sophomores have matured. Then our freshmen coming in always change it up.
Q.How many upperclassmen do you have this season?
Max and Camron: Five seniors and 16 juniors. The rest are freshmen and sophomores.
Q. Who is your top rival?
Camron: The one to beat is always Station Camp.
Max: They are back-to-back state champions right now, and I think our record with them is very negative right now, like in the last couple of years. It just always feels good to beat them. We beat them last year for the regional finals and it was awesome.
Q. Coach, what do you think of the effort the players have put in so far?
Coach Plummer: I’m the type of person that if you’ve known me for a long time, you’re going to put in effort. The people that don’t put in effort, they don’t stick around much. It’s not a mean or negative thing because we go back to those demands, it’s just we expect a lot. There are high expectations, there are things you’ve got to do.
Q. How close are the players on the soccer team?
Camron: Close, like a family.
Max: We do everything together. Every year, for the underclassmen that can’t drive, the older guys take them to practice. You always get closer when you take someone everywhere.
Q. Are you happy with student turnout at your games?
Coach Plummer: I think you’d always like to see more. We have a very nice facility at the park, but because we’re at the park, sometimes we don’t get the crowd we would if we were playing right here at the school. A long time ago we used to play on the football field and that was a great environment because our crowds were much bigger. Softball plays at the park, baseball plays at the park, tennis is at the park. They’re good facilities at the park, but sometimes we don’t get the environment that we want. But when it’s a big game the school does a great job supporting us.
Q. Coach, you’ve had a long and successful career (Plummer is in his 32nd year and has more than 800 victories and three state championships – 1989, 1998, 2010). Can we expect you to be at HHS another 32 years?
Coach Plummer: I want to do it as long as the program is being successful. I don’t really have a timetable. I don’t want to be called into the principal’s office and they say ‘Coach, I think you need to do something else.’ I want to make that call when the time is right, but I couldn’t tell you when that time will be.
Q. What made you want to become a coach?
Coach Plummer: It would be my high school and my college coach. Fortunately, I had a great high school mentor. He was the middle school coach when I was in middle school and he moved up to the high school when I moved up to high school, and I’ve known him for a long time. Because of the impact that he had in my life, I thought it would be nice to help impact other people's lives as well.
(Coach Plummer also credits his father and his coach at Indiana University for being influential). In college, I wasn’t good enough to play soccer, but I knew I wanted to be involved. I was around the players and coaches every day as a student manager. I could have gone to a smaller college and played, but my experiences at Indiana prepared me much better to be a coach and lead the program at HHS.
Q. How does soccer help prepare students for challenges off the field?
Max: It’s really all about your mentality going into it. You’ve got to have a good attitude because doing stuff you don’t want to do is a big part of it. You don’t always get to do what you want.
Camron: You’ve got to work well with your teammates, and that helps to prepare you for later on when you have to work well with others. You also have to communicate on the field, like you do in the workplace.
Story by The Ville News staff