The proof was in the pudding during tryouts, as 118 students gave it a go.
According to third-year coach Jon Bradley, who took the helm a season after the Blue Wave won just two games in 2010, the increased interest in soccer should benefit his team this season and in the long run.
The Blue Wave's turnaround was swift, as they won 11 and nine total games in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Darien won three Class L state tournament games in the last two seasons combined, and they made an appearance in the FCIAC tournament in 2011.
"118 kids trying out obviously poses a nice problem. The numbers have dramatically increased," Bradley said of his team that features seven seniors and 22 underclassmen on the varsity roster. "I think we've got the potential to surprise some people. Technically, we're going to be a very good soccer team. How we physically match up against some teams, we won't know until we start the season."
And Bradley isn't the only one who's noticed the buzz around Blue Wave soccer.
"It's nice because normally football outweighs soccer, but now we have a lot more kids showing up," said Graham Helgans, a senior captain and center back. "Our strengths this year would be on the forward side. I think we'll be able to score pretty well. Defense is always a work in progress, but we've got some experienced kids this year."
While the Blue Wave certainly had no shortage of interested soccer players, they will be charged with the task of replacing three of last season's most dangerous scoring threats: Brennan Branca, Spencer McMullin and Ben Highton.
Bradley estimated that the trio combined for about 50 goals last year, but he's optimistic that he may have some players who are ready to fill those shoes.
"That's going to be tough to replace," Bradley said. "We've got four forwards we're going to rotate: (senior) Aidan Branigan, (junior) Kai Bjornstad and we have one or two underclassmen playing very well, so we'll see what happens when they get into the big games."
"We have a lot of underclassmen coming up which should be good for the years to come," said Chris Chiamulera, a senior captain and center midfielder. "I'm looking forward to seeing Kai Bjornstad and Andrew Matthew and Aidan Brannigan. They're strikers and they're all fast, quick, tall and they all seem to be looking good this season."
The varsity roster may be settled, but players are still competing with one another for starting spots, and one of the position battles includes goalie, which was manned by Jack Fisher and Jeff Sload last season.
"We've got (sophomore) Liam Rischman and (junior) Peter Triesman, who were both on JV last year, battling it out to see who's going to take the No. 1 spot," Bradley said. "Right now it's fairly even between them."
With such an array of players to choose from to fill out his varsity roster, Bradley indicated that it came down to the best players and that a player's grade had virtually no bearing on the outcome.
"In the end, we just picked the best players that we felt were worthy to be on the varsity roster, regardless of what grade they're in. I never think of it as rebuilding because we don't want to go back to the days when they boys were winning two or three games," Bradley said. "Unfortunately we ended up releasing some kids from the program that are decent soccer players, but we had to get the numbers manageable so we can get ready for the season."
In the wide open landscape that is the FCIAC soccer scene, Darien knows that it's anyone's game if it can get to the postseason.
"Yesterday was the first time we all played together and it looked really good, maybe better than some people expected," said Henrik Stockinger, a junior captain and defensive midfielder. "We'll try to qualify for states and FCIACs, and once we get there, we'll take it from there."
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