New coach, new season for Vail Mountain
EAST VAIL, Colorado – There has been a bit of a cosmic shift when it comes to Vail Mountain School soccer.
A fixture on the sidelines, Bob Bandoni has stepped down from his head-coaching duties to become the program’s technical advisor, and one of his star pupils Slade Cogswell, Class of 2001, is taking over.
We will now allow all involved to re-evaluate the dispositions their psyches.
“It’s been great,” said, ahem, coach Cogswell. “It’s great to work with VMS students. This group has a lot of fight and charisma. They’re playing as a unit and within the system. There are a lot of schools where you can coach all-stars. What VMS has going for it is that everyone is looking out for one another as a team.”
When last the sporting world saw Cogswell, he was one of the leaders, and dare we say an all-star, on one of VMS most memorable teams. A senior on the 2000 Gore Rangers squad, Cogswell and company made history becoming the smallest school in the history of Colorado high school soccer to make the state semifinals, upsetting No. 1-ranked Colorado Academy along the way.
Since then, Cogswell attended Colgate University, majoring in art and economics. He’s come back home and is an art teacher at VMS.
VMS enters the season, which starts Tuesday at Basalt, confronting some major losses to graduation, most notably goalie Sean Minett, midfielder Carder Lamb and striker Tony Ryerson.
While past performance does not guarantee future results, Cogswell astutely noted that the Gore Rangers were in a very similar situation before his senior year in 2000. In fact, some silly reporter for Vail Daily wrote, “The Vail Mountain School soccer team may be donning the familiar blue and white during the 2000 season, but this certainly isn’t your older brother’s VMS squad.
“Gone are Aaron Vandeford, Jordan Chase, Nikken Cullman, Ben Talbot, Colin Lamb and Jon Wright. For those of you keeping score at home, that would be last year’s starting goalie and the entire VMS defense.”
As the drumbeat of progress marches on, this year’s captains are seniors Charlie Grant and Sean Woods.
“It’s an honor to be a captain,” since Grant, who’s been at VMS since the sixth grade. “It’s nice to have a new team. It is like a rebuilding year, but it’s still going to be a good team.”
Stefan Sterett and Nick Vossler are battling for the goalie’s job. Woods, Jordan Goldstein, Tony Hernandez and Cody Cirillo will man the defense. At midfield, it’s Grant, J.C. Hernandez, Aaron Lewis and Austin Cerny. Up top, it’s Josh Rosenbach and John Landreth.
Paco Holguin, Christian Julian and Connor Peck round out the roster.
The last team to begin its season, VMS compensates by starting on the road against Basalt, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Aspen and Roaring Fork all on the road. The 3A Slope has four postseason spots up for grabs, but the wearing of the orange, VMS’ playoff color of choice, is not guaranteed as the league has shown its strength recently.
Hotchkiss not only won the league title last year, but the 3A state crown. Basalt and Aspen, as always, are in the hunt, and Coal Ridge is emerging as a good squad.
That does not discourage VMS, though.
“It’s so exciting. I’m glad we’re opening with Basalt,” Grant said. “It’s going to be a good matchup. I think we have a shot (at orange) this year. It’s always possible.”
And if you’re wondering what Bandoni’s role as a technical advisor entails, he will be roving around the program’s different teams, spreading his wisdom. He will also be at home games and a few road games, though it’s pretty safe to say that he will not be making this year’s trek to Paonia. It is also safe to say that the Bandon will mutter, “Dios mio” or “Come on, man” quite often.
Old habits die hard.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.