New coach, same high expectations

It has been a pretty hectic month for new Marshalltown boys’ soccer coach Chris Fuchsen.

Scrambling to obtain his coaching license and spending time in a hospital room welcoming a new addition to his family has made things a bit busier than most high school coaches a few days before the season begins but coming into a program so deep in talent has made the adjustment and the hectic schedule much easier to handle.

Fuchsen and his wife Mary welcomed their second child on March 16 and then the new Bobcat coach began his tenure with the soccer team the following day.

It is now his job to continuing steering the Bobcats in the right direction. Marshalltown won its first 11 games last year and finished 16-3 overall. And with so much talent and key components returning in 2014, the expectations couldn’t be higher.

“I am a competitive guy and I have known some of these kids since they were in junior high,” Fuchsen said. “You want expectations to be high and these guys have definitely created some hype for the program.”

Fuchsen said his first season as Bobcat coach includes a roster with more than 100 players. Trying to work through some unfortunate weather hasn’t made it easy to evaluate the squad, but it’s clear that there is a lot of ability and talent and that the senior class will be the anchors of a team that is expected to once again find the Class 3A rankings.

“They return a lot of guys from a great squad last year,” Fuchsen said. “We will rely heavily on our senior class.”

Headlining this year’s team will be seniors Martin Chavarria, Augustine Ortiz and Kreighton Miller.

Chavarria has been one of the best goal scorers in the state since bursting onto the scene and leading the state in goals as a freshman. He scored 19 goals, had nine assists and tallied 45 points last year, but his role under Fuchsen will be different.

“He is still our go-to guy and we will depend heavily on him,” said Fuchsen. “But I also want him to anchor our back line and be an attacking threat out of the backfield. That may take away from his goal scoring, but I want him to be all over the field.

That may take away from his goal scoring, but I want him to be all over the field.

“He’ll be effective anywhere I put him, and he matured a lot and is now more a team leader.”

Ortiz will hold down the center back position and is the leader of the team defensively. Miller returns as starting goalkeeper after making 1,062 saves and allowing just 11 goals last season.

“We will rely heavily on Augustine back there and he will control almost everything we do defensively,” said Fuchsen.

“You can’t get a lot of people to volunteer to play goalie, but Kreighton has always wanted to play between the posts. He shows up and performs every day.”

Fuchsen had an idea of what he was going to be working with when he took the job as boys’ soccer coach. He was born and raised in Marshalltown, graduated from the school in 1999 and played for the Bobcats himself. Fuchsen also coached some of the players at the club level for the Marshalltown Area Soccer Club.

That familiarity has made things much easier for Fuchsen, who played collegiate soccer at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.

Junior Ellis Buchwald also will be looked at to lead the Bobcats this season. Holding down the center midfielder position and keeping the defense organized, Buchwald scored seven goals and had five assists in 16 games last year.

David Gomez also returns for his senior year and will be another scoring threat on the front line. He tallied 10 goals and six assists last year.

The Bobcats hope to replace the departed Mi Reh and Alfonso Gonzales with a few other talented goal scorers.

Austin Lovin (four goals and two assists) and Tony Ordaz Zambrano (three goals, six assists) return to the roster this year, while Hruai Lian and Eh Htoo also are expected to make an impact.

Lian comes to Marshalltown as a transfer from Fort Worth, Texas. Htoo is a sophomore who Fuchsen said should help add to the Bobcats’ pace offensively.

The rest of the defense includes returners Trevor Fuccio and Kevin Nunez. Fuccio made 13 starts last year, while Nunez will switch positions in 2014.

The Bobcats won their first 11 games in the 2013 and then claimed back-to-back wins over Newton and West Des Moines Valley in mid-May. Marshalltown went 2-0 against Southeast Polk and the second win came in the postseason.

The Bobcats then lost to Dowling Catholic, 2-1, in the next round of the playoffs. The other two losses came to Urbandale (3-2) and long-time rival Ames (3-0).

Marshalltown will get a chance to avenge that narrow loss to Urbandale right away in 2014 as the Bobcats open the season against the J-Hawks at Leonard Cole Field today at 7:30 p.m.

“Urbandale is definitely a quality opponent right out of the gate,” Fuchsen said. “We like to play at home and hopefully we can get off on the right foot.

“I want to continue to build a strong soccer program at MHS. I want the little kids to look up to this team.”