Boys’ soccer coach has ‘great problem’

Butte High boys’ soccer coach Eric Zahler thinks he’s got a pretty good problem on his hands.

The coach just can’t decide who will make his varsity team.

Zahler discussed that “problem” Friday night after the annual Purple and White Game at Butte High School . The coach didn’t see separation from players on a team he felt was tired.

“We still have not split up JV and varsity yet,” Zahler said. “I’ve got a lot of guys in that middle group. I got my definite eight or nine starters. I got my definite JV kids. But that middle group, they’re just so talented that I don’t know what to do with them yet. It’s a good problem to have. It’s a great problem to have.”

Of course that so-called problem basically typifies the entire 2012 Butte High team. Zahler said this year is not about the star.

“I think we’re going to have a great team this year, and that has me excited,” Zahler said. “We’re not going to have a go-to horse, but you’re going to see great possessions and you’re going to see great build up. We didn’t see that today, but it’s going to come.”

Last year Brandon Loeffler led the Bulldogs. Loeffler took his game to the college field at Rocky Mountain College.

Butte High doesn’t have that sure-fire upper echelon player, Zahler said. The Bulldogs just have a lot of really solid players.

“Every senior that we have plays a major role in leadership this year,” Zahler said. “We’re not going to have a great standout.”

The Bulldogs did have some solid play in Friday’s scrimmage.

The coach pointed to the play Noah Loomis in the middle of the field and Jonathan Sholey and Matt Loeffler in the middle.

Sophomore goalie Jake Williams showed great leadership in goal, and Zahler said he is likely his starter. The coach said he Noah Johnson looks really good in goal, too.

“I know that I’ve got a back up, and I know that I can use them in the field as well,” Zahler said. “They’re both great outside mids.”

In all, Butte High has 27 boys out for soccer.

Friday’s scrimmage featured nine players on each side instead of the usual 11 players because the field on the south side of the school isn’t big enough for a full soccer pitch.

“Our goalies are only allowed to throw the ball,” Zahler said. “We could have punted the ball from goal to goal, and that wouldn’t be fun to watch.”

Butte High opens the season Aug. 30 when Great Falls High comes to town.

Zahler said his team has lots of work in the nearly two weeks before that match.

“Overall it was good,” Zahler said of the practice game. ” I’m a little frustrated because it didn’t look as good as I thought it would today.”