After a one-and-done performance in the Class A playoffs in 2011, Billings Central found its groove and made a run to the state title game last season under first-year coach and Cameroon native Didier Ndedi. Eight starters return this year for the Rams, who should again be a factor in Class A.
Laurel is also looking for a Class A playoff berth this season.
Following is a capsule look at the local boys soccer teams for the 2013 season:
Coach: Didier Ndedi (2nd season)
Record last year: 13-2-0
At state: 2nd place
Returning starters (8): Joey Thompson, Sr., GK; Nolan Trafton, Sr., D/MF; Matthew Cranston, So., D/MF; Nico Gallegos, Sr., MF; Kylen Laber, Jr., MF; Zach Wall, Sr., F; Brandon Peterson, Sr., MF/F; Braedon Trunkle, Jr., MF/F.
Others to watch: Josh Bundy, Fr.; Caleb Wall, Fr.; Christian Zygmond, Fr.
Noteworthy: Central lost 4-1 to Whitefish in last season's State A championship match. ... Ndedi coached the Rams to the state championship game in his first season as coach. He is a native of Cameroon who played professional soccer in Germany, France and Thailand.
Coach Ndedi says: “It will be a very interesting season. Because of our success last year, expectations are high. With their hard work, dedication and determination they’ve demonstrated during our preseason practices, I believe they will make it to the championship match again.”
Coach: Rod Nauman (4th season)
Record last year: N/A
At state: Did not qualify
Returning starters (9): Bradley Heimbigner, Jr., D; Forrest Crowl, Jr., MF; Walter Olson, Sr., D; Daniel Stamper, Jr., D; Zac Allen, Jr., GK; Ira Lee, Sr., MF/F; Keegan Reilly; Nongtei Makdoh; Cam DeMars.
Noteworthy: The Locomotives look to replace three graduating seniors in MF Alex Linse, D/MF Eddy Day and MF/F Sterling Arneson. Linse was named all-state last season.
Coach Nauman says: “I’m looking forward to the season. We have a lot to learn, but the athletes are motivated and listen well. They help each other with learning the game.”