Northland Prep boys soccer down, but not out | Prep Sports

The Northland Prep boys soccer team and its first-year head coach have some work ahead of them.

Good thing the entire roster is ready to buy into Eduyn Graterol’s vision and put in the work needed to reach the 2A Conference state tournament.

“We are starting from the ground up, but we are excited,” Graterol said. “These guys have been working hard with the time we’ve had, and I am hoping that starts showing. These are very respectful kids, and they are willing to work really hard.”

Unfortunately, the Spartans, who opened the 2017 season at home with a 6-0 loss to the St. Johns Redskins on Tuesday, haven’t had much time with their new head coach. Graterol only received word about the opening from Northland Prep girls soccer coach Michael Blair about a week before the season was set to start.

After acting as an assistant coach with the Northern Arizona University men’s soccer club, Graterol, a native of Venezuela, took a shot at the chance of remaining a part of the soccer scene in the city of Flagstaff. Taking note of his soccer background, which includes playing and managing for the Division I Liberty Flames of Liberty University in Virginia, Northland Prep brought him aboard.

“I decided to keep it local and the opportunity came up,” Graterol said of taking the helm.

But he’d like to bring some Venezuelan passion for the sport to the Spartans program, which missed making last season’s eight-team state championship tournament and finished with a 5-8 regular-season record. Graterol said he wants to push his players more than they’ve been in the past, adding that the Spartans have the size and physicality that could give opponents troubles.

“We have size and we are training to win balls in the air, and that requires a lot of physical dominance. We are banking on that,” Graterol said. “Even our smallest guy needs…

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