Hilton reflects on season for Yukon boys soccer

The Yukon boys’ soccer team finished its 2018 season on April 20 with a 2-0 loss to Westmoore.

The defeat dropped the Millers’ record to 6-8 on the year.

Following the loss, Yukon coach Neil Hilton shared his thoughts with the Yukon Review on how the season went for the Yukon boys in a Q&A format.

Here is what Hilton had to say:

Yukon Review: How would you summarize this season?

Neil Hilton: The season was an interesting one, we saw how good we could be and we also saw how much we’d struggle without a senior midfielder who controlled the middle of the field for us. I genuinely believed we could upset anybody with Kayleb (Chavira) healthy and how we were playing as a team. We had some great performances in non-district play. We competed and beat some of the strongest teams in the state who will be battling away in the playoffs. The main thing for me is the boys had fun this year and enjoyed being part of a team we had some great times as a group.

YR: You started off the season strong and struggled down the stretch. What do you attribute to the second half of the season?

NH: Losing Kayleb Chavira at a crucial point of the season was unfortunately a massive factor. The middle of the field is such a pivotal part of a game of soccer and he made our team tick. His energy and his willingness to run, tackle and stand up to the opposition in a physical district was massive for us. We have carried out player meetings this week and talking to other seniors they all talk about how losing Kayleb was something that was impossible to replace this year. We went from a very competitive team who could win games to a team who still worked very hard and stayed competitive in every game just didn’t have that bit of special quality that you need to win games.

YR: Who stood out to you this season?

NH: Players who stood out this year is certainly Colton Humphrey, Danial Honarchi and Kayleb Chavira. Colton and Danny were always going to be crucial to if we could stop some very talented teams by those two boys defending like they have for the past four years and they stood up and lead by example.

YR: Talk about your senior class and what they have done for your program.

NH: This senior class will be missed. The guys loved their experience playing in this program and ultimately learned many of life lessons, which is why I coach, and wish them all the success in the world.

YR: Who are some young players that stepped up this year?

NH: Kaden Allen as a freshman goalkeeper deserves a lot of credit under a lot of pressure this year by playing some good teams. He made some big saves, but more importantly he has a great personality and amazing to have around the school. We are lucky to have him for three more years. Jackson Suffield deserves massive credit as a freshman. He played basically every minute of every game as a right back on varsity. He is one player who is so passionate about playing and gives 100 percent all the time. He is a great player to coach because I never have to question his work rate or his commitment to trying to improve. He played way beyond his years this season. We look forward to continuing seeing him develop.

Zach Snow is easy to forget he was just a sophomore this year. He ended the season our top goal scorer. He is such a crucial player on the field for us and has now got to take his game to the next level and I fully believe can stand out against any opposition over the next two years. He is getting stronger and now has fully adjusted to playing against some very physical defenders in our district. I think he is going to be fun to watch the next two years.

YR: Looking ahead, what do you want your returning players to learn from this season and take into next year?

NH: When you lose your two central defenders and two central midfielders it will certainly be a transition, but we have boys who have played and have to be ready to step up. They have no choice and that’s the fun of high school soccer.

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