Camdenton, Mo. - Hardly ever will a coach admit that their team is going to have a rebuilding season. They'll use terms like "we have a lot of improving to do" or "we're just really young".
But the fact remains that no matter how much you word it, it is what it is.
And for the Camdenton Lakers and the Osage Indians, it is a rebuilding season.
Returning just one starter from last year's team, the Lakers graduated 10 of their starters and 14 seniors. Add to that fact that two incoming seniors to this year's squad moved away during the summer, and nearly every face that has seen varsity time is gone. In fact, just four players on the roster played while wearing the varsity jersey last season, and just one starter.
Does that mean this team is bound to lose every game?
"There's a lot of open spots, which means that there is a lot of competition," Coach Jason Ingold said. "I like that. They don't think they have a spot secured yet. We did a lot of games, scrimmages and tournaments this summer, so it gave us some looks at different guys in different spots."
Inexperience does not mean talentless, and there is plenty of young talent to be had. Connor Hickman is the lone starter returning, but he managed to tie the Lakers' record for assists last season. Dylan Bergthold will be one of the other seniors returning with experience, with field players Brooks Green and Riley Paskach.
Starting in the goal, Tanner Moesch returns to take over the role previously held by Hunter McMahon. Moesch has been named a team captain by his teammates, and is expected to be a large part in whatever success the Lakers' defense has this season. And defense will be the key for the Lakers this season.
"We're not going to be as offensive-minded as we have been in the past," Ingold said. "We've changed and tweaked some things to be more defensive. We might run a different formation; we've tinkered with two over the summer, so we'll see which one we like best."
They bring a great work ethic this year, which is something the coaches are really excited about it.
"We started with 36 guys, and have had three dropped out. We've never had lower than 36 come out before. So, we're definitely rebuilding, but an exciting year at the same time. It's a great group of kids. They come out here to work and are good kids makes this a lot more fun. You don't know what to expect, so you'll be surprised."
School of the Osage's soccer fall practice began with new head coach Randy Satterlee looking forward to building on last years 20-6 team.
Page 2 of 2 - The differences between this season and last, however, are already being shown, with a number of faces gone from the picture.
The 2012 Indians, led by Coach Brandon Randall, are now working under the eye of Coach Satterlee, last season's assistant coach. Randall and Osage departed ways in the off-season, and now Randall is coaching the Parkview Vikings.
Also gone from the team is the strong senior class with sweeper Jon Colgan and midfielder Matt Lehenbauer both graduated.
But that's still not it.
The biggest loss to the program from the 2012 season is the graduated striker, Robbie Mueller. Mueller led the team in scoring last season, and set a new high school record for career goals.
The team's 20-6 season will be harder to repeat without those faces, but the team still has solid players left, like seniors Wyatt Whitman, Zach and Ryan Curran and juniors Connor Brenneman and Abe Zawislak. Shane Sabourin showed some great flashes as a freshman midfielder last season, and will look to get in the mix, too.
The team pulled up short of a district title, and playing in Class 1 once again will give the team the chance to face off against those same teams again.