TORRINGTON – Gabe Bartlett will be the next head soccer coach for the Torrington High School boys’ team.
“It wasn’t the best way for this to come about getting the head job,” Bartlett said. “Mr. (Dave) Plendl said he’d like to keep it going. So, I applied.”
Bartlett led the Blazers to a fifth-place finish at the Class 3A Wyoming State Soccer Tournament last month in Jackson coming after the sudden resignation of then coach Jeshua Arnusch, following the opening round loss to Riverton.
“I just tried to do my best and empower the kids. They are the ones out there playing. They responded. It could have gone one way, but it didn’t,” Bartlett said. “I don’t know how much credit I can take because they are the ones playing the games.”
Bartlett and Arnusch have coached together for several years now, and Bartlett’s coaching style is very similar. As a result, he’s hoping it will make for a smooth transition for everyone involved.
“It should be a smooth transition. The language, the drills, the formations will be the same,” Bartlett said. “My philosophy isn’t much different than that of coach Arnusch’s. We’ve been coaching together for six, seven years now. That’s where I’ve developed mine.”
It’s an aggressive, physical style with a strong defense.
Bartlett hopes to continue on in building the foundation which Arnusch laid in what he describes as the Barcelona-type style of play.
“They try to possess it and move and rotate in triangles up and down the field, allowing the team to make runs off those triangles as the come open,” Bartlett said. “It’s an aggressive but possession-based game.”
The Blazers ended the 2019 season with a 14-5 record and will have a team of underclassmen on the field next spring, but Bartlett is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m looking for to it. I hope the kids are excited. I hope the kids keep coming out, and we are going to try to keep building,” he said. “We have some young kids coming up and have some young kids on the team now. We’ll be relatively young with only two seniors (Nate Gutierrez and Bailey Powell) with varsity minutes.”