GLASGOW — Barren County has already cleared one hurdle the Trojans faced last season.
To start the 2018 campaign, the Trojans only had 12 soccer players. By the end of the season, the Trojans were able to increase that number to 19, and Barren County had more than 25 students come out for soccer over the summer.
Though the Trojans were 4-15 last year, five of their losses came by just one goal.
"We didn't win very many, but we were in a lot of them," Barren County coach Joe Mercer said.
Mercer is excited about this season, which begins Monday with a home match at 5:30 p.m. against Hart County, due in part to the number of returning players as well as the addition of some new faces to the team.
"The majority of our team is back, so that's a plus," he said.
The Trojans return their biggest offensive threat from a season ago in junior Seth Mitchell, who led the team in goals(17) and assists(7).
Caleb Hester — one of just three seniors on the squad — started playing soccer last year, but he quickly became a starter and returns to help man the midfield for Barren County. Hester was one of several additions to the team in 2018 who ended up making a positive impact on the team.
"This year they understand more of their role and where they need to be," Mercer said.
Some of the new additions this season that Mercer believes will be important players for the team include senior Cody Lane and sophomore Aden Nyekan.
Nyekan will likely be charged with pairing with Mitchell to help the Trojan offense.
"We're looking for him to have a good impact," Mercer said.
Lane has never played soccer before, but he is a basketball player for the Trojans and Mercer said he's athletic.
"He's looking like he's going to be able to provide some defensive support for us this year," he said.
Johnny Peden and Sam Baldwin are other additions who Mercer believes will play major roles for the Trojans in 2019.
The Trojans have played more of a defensive alignment in recent years in part due to lack of experience, but that may change this season.
"We think our offense can hopefully be pretty potent," Mercer said.
Glasgow has owned District 15 of late, and the Scotties are again the favorites headed into 2019. Mercer said that while everyone else is playing catchup to Glasgow, there's still an opportunity to qualify for the 4th Region tournament.
The district winner and runner-up advance to region play. The past two seasons, Clinton County has defeated Barren County in the first round of the district tournament while Glasgow has knocked out Monroe County en route to winning the district title.
"With the people we have returning, only losing three seniors, I think we can hopefully battle for that region spot," Mercer said.
After Monday's opener with Hart County, Barren County will host Todd County Central at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and then play Glasgow at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 15.