Blades sharpens skills at tryouts
Former De Soto High School goalkeeper Danny Blades raised the bar for himself this summer.
Blades, who is entering his freshman year at Johnson County Community College, decided to try out for the Cavaliers soccer team. Although Blades received the bad news on Saturday he didn't make the 24-man roster, he was happy he persevered through several days of rigorous tryouts.
In July, 50 soccer players attended a two-day camp. By the end of the session, JCCC coaches reduced the number to 32 players, including Blades. The former DHS goalkeeper said that trying out for the team showed him the competitive nature of the college game.
"It was a really good experience and it showed me what I need to work on," Blades said. "These guys are good. They eat, sleep and live soccer."
DHS soccer coach Mike Murphy said that Blades' experience as the lone returnee on the varsity squad last season helped the team to a strong 2000 season.
"It was crucial that we had a goalie who was good last year," Murphy said. "Danny was the only guy with varsity experience. He was able to come in and do the job."
Blades said he became a little nervous in recent practices and his game struggled because of it.
"I could tell that I wasn't playing as well as I should have," Blades said. "During the first tryouts, I thought I'd make the team but then I let myself down."
Despite his recent setback, Blades said he still plans to play indoor soccer with friends and will consider coaching a soccer team in the future. However, he plans to focus much of his attention on academics this year with the hope of landing a future job in the advertising or marketing field.
"I'm going to take a lot of marketing and business classes," Blades said. "I think that I want to make commercials for companies and give them ideas for commercials."
A 2001 De Soto High School graduate, Blades played three years of varsity soccer for the Wildcats and became the starting goalkeeper his senior year. He counts the team's 1-0 victory over Tonganoxie and a hard-fought 2-1 loss against district rival Mill Valley as two of the most important games of his senior year. Blades played every game during De Soto's 12-6-1 season, which ended in a 4-1 loss at Topeka Hayden in the regional finals.
"I finally got to show my skills during my senior year," Blades said. "The Tonganoxie game was really enjoyable and we had a really good game."