Confidence is the key for Thomas, Blazers in 2019

Bryan Edwards | Kentucky New Era

University Heights Academy boy's soccer coach Frankie Thomas passes to one of his players during a practice. Thomas is entering his first season at the helm of Blazer soccer.

Confidence is one thing first-year head coach Frankie Thomas wants his University Heights Academy boy's soccer team to have as the 2019 season gets underway.

Thomas said since he's taken over, that confidence has grown, particularly when moving the ball up the field.

"Since I've had them, they've all gained a little bit of confidence to where they feel like they can move up and score," he said. "Tanner Thomas, he's shown a lot of confidence in moving the ball and being able to score as well. At the Bluegrass Games he scored several goals and he had the confidence to do it."

UHA enters 2019 having lost its top scorer from last season in Ian Calvert (52 points), as well as its starting goalkeeper Dan Johnson. The Blazers do return Will Bryan, the team's top goal scorer from a year ago (19 goals).

Despite losing some key players, Thomas believes the Blazers have a lot of potential heading into the year.

"The sky is the limit right now," Thomas said. "Just pushing for them to work hard. With their work ethic, it'll pay off with wins. The sky is the limit for us I think right now."

One thing the first year gaffer said he has learned is his team will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

"They're very respectful kids and they work hard for you," Thomas said. "They've been out here working hard. Blood, sweat and tears every day. Pushing themselves to the limit -- that's one thing I've learned about them. They've proven to me that they'll do anything for me to be able to get out there and play on the field."

In soccer, a lot is determined by which team possesses the ball the most. Thomas wants to see his team pick its spots through possessing the ball and picking apart defenses.

"My style of play is possession," Thomas said. "We're really big on possession and having our outside defenders press up with speed and overlap each other and just be able to move the ball as quickly as we can."

UHA kicks off its season Tuesday against Mayfield on the road and begins the push to improve upon its 12-6-1 record from a year ago.

"We've got a pretty decent schedule," Thomas said. "One tweak I did was during the Bluegrass Games. I moved them up from the C bracket to the B bracket to challenge them a little bit more and to let them know how I'm expecting them to play this year."

The Blazers and Cardinals begin play at 7 p.m. in Mayfield.

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