False MI Prep Zone: Chatfield rebuilding LP soccer team
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Chatfield rebuilding LP soccer team

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Coming into the season first year Lincoln Park girls’ soccer coach Nathan Chatfield knew that he would have a rebuilding project on his hands. The Rails finished at the bottom of the Downriver League last year and the outlook this year was just as bleak.

But like any good architect will tell you, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Chatfield understood that he had to lay the team foundation this season and teaching his team the basic fundamentals of soccer would be the concrete.

“We’re still fairly young and inexperienced so I’ve tried to instill the fundamentals,” said Chatfield. “Everything in soccer starts up the middle, so we want to be sure defensively and be strong up the middle. If we do that it will allow us to sure up the rest of our skills moving forward.”

The Rails have had plenty of opportunity to work on the defensive side of the ball. Lincoln Park has lost its last two games by a combined score of 11-0 while being outshot 68-1 in the losses.

“We’ve been getting beat to a lot of loose balls,” said Chatfield. “That is one of those intangibles that some people have and some people don’t, you have got to want to get the ball. Hopefully that is something that we can start to instill moving forward, but that’s where the leadership on this team comes in.”

Chatfield said that although his team is inexperienced he does like the core veteran’s leadership that makes up his captains, especially senior goalie Olivia McKinney.

Every architect needs a foreman, well forewoman in this case, to keep things in check on the field and McKinney fits that mold for Lincoln Park.

“Without her we lose this game 12-0,” said Chatfield after Wednesday’s 5-0 loss at Truman. “I mean you need to have a good goalie and I think we are very fortunate to have one of the best who is physically tall and has great hands.”

McKinney made several spectacular saves over the last two games, but her main contribution is to be the field general that the young Rail-splitters need.

“You just need to keep your confidence high and as a captain we have to keep the teams’ mood up,” said McKinney. “Everyone gets down on themselves once goals start going in, so I have to make sure they keep those energy levels up and try to lead.”

“I try to help the girls as much as I can especially since we have a whole bunch of girls who haven’t played on this level before.”

While this year might not end like Lincoln Park would like it to, Chatfield said that as his team continues to improve he likes their chances moving forward.

“I think we need to sure up things defensively, but I’ll take our chances moving forward,” said Chatfield. “I like where we are at right now.”

Hey Rome wasn’t built in a day, and in the case of Chatfield and the Rail-Splitters he’s just getting started.

Last Updated: 4/10/2014 12:18:38 PM EST