Troy, Mo. - For first-year boys soccer coach Ben Johnstone, building a winning program starts with building strong, positive people.
“I’d like to help these men to become better people,” he said. “I’d like to use soccer to help these men grow.”
Johnstone takes over a program that fell on hard times in 2020. After a 13-11 season in 2019, the Trojans dropped to 5-11 last season with an opening-round loss to host Holt in the Class 4 District 8 Tournament.
However, Johnstone prefers to look at the present and what lies ahead – instead of the records left behind.
“We’d like to focus on making changes to help the players become the best version of themselves to concentrate on their true objective,” he said.
Troy Buchanan is a young team, having lost two star players from last year’s team. Defender Carson Lebegue is now playing down the road at Webster University in Webster Acres, and goaltender TJ Balducci is not much farther away, playing soccer at Fontbonne University in St. Louis.
Nevertheless, the Trojans feel they have the leadership to play as one unit, not as individual players.
“We have a young team, but we have a group of extremely competent leaders who can lead this team to where we need to be,” Johnstone said.
What Johnstone wants most out of his first season at Troy Buchanan – is for his players to become as great in the community as they are on the pitch.
“The No. 1 objective is to see them become better individuals as players, and in life,” he said. “I also want them to create moments that they can look positively on for the rest of their lives.”