CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights junior high soccer coach Brian Hiller believes there were two reasons for the success of the team this past season — hard work and camaraderie.
The school’s A team, a co-ed squad consisting of 26 boys and 11 girls, won the Lackawanna Soccer League title with a 12-1-1 record.
The B team finished with a 14-0 record, but only the A team is eligible to compete for the league title.
In his seventh season at Abington Heights, Hiller previously served as an assistant coach for the Lakeland girls varsity soccer team.
“When my wife, Heather, and I had a child, the position at Abington Heights opened up and I took it to be able to spend more time with my family,” he said.
The couple has two children, Michael, 9 and Conner, 6.
Hiller cherishes watching the players mature as athletes on the field and socially through friendships they create by playing the sport.
“There are two things I enjoy most about coaching — seeing the progress the kids make throughout the season and watching them come together and work well as a team while also becoming friends.”
Although the team had many skilled players, Hiller believes teamwork was instrumental in their success.
“The kids worked hard to be able to play together as a team,” he said. “We had tons of individual talent, but they had to work together to put it all together and win games.”
The team was led by captains Morghan Stiles and Carson Smith.
Hiller preaches playing as a cohesive unit and giving the best effort at all times.
“I want them to understand the importance of hard work and working together as a team to support each other,” he said.
According to Hiller, the team also had a flair for the dramatic throughout the season.
“We had three very close games,” he said. “We won one game with 1:30 left, one with 30 seconds left and one with 10 seconds to play.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.