William Haynes talks discipline and culture changes for his Harnett Central boys soccer team following its latest conference win.
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SPRING LAKE — Following the team's third straight victory Monday, second-year Harnett Central boys soccer coach William Haynes could barely speak about the match before resurfacing trying times of the past.
It was just March when his Trojans wrapped up a winless spring slate with a 4-0 loss to rival Triton.
"We had, like, two guys show up to tryouts the first day. We had no team, I'd never coached soccer before and it was all new," Haynes said after the team's 3-0 decision at Overhills.
"But now, we're getting there. It's getting better."
This fall, it's Central (4-2, 3-0 AAC) who is blanking opponents as Monday's shutout was a third in six tries.
Haynes preaches an aggressive style of play, something the England native says is a common thread for the greatest soccer clubs worldwide.
"The first 10 minutes of every game, if you don't come out and establish dominance, you're just not as good," he said.
Juan Martinez has taken the motivational words and translated them into a team-leading four goals this season, including a nifty free kick in the fifth minute Monday to take a 1-0 advantage following a yellow card on Overhills (2-4, 1-2 AAC) keeper Daniel Sykes.
"(Martinez) scored a great free kick. Even if there was a goalie in there, it still was gonna go in," Haynes said.
"Every game, I want to have a bad halftime team talk because everybody is playing so bad, and he always scores a goal."
Central midfielder Angel Escobedo also converted a free kick for his first goal this year, lofting a looping shot over the outstretched arms of Sykes to take a 2-0 lead in the 31st minute.
Meanwhile, Haynes tasked former Overhills player Eric Flores-Juan with the unenviable responsibility of shadowing Jaguars leading scorer Bryan Ortega-Martinez, who was celebrating his senior night in front of a charged home contingent.
"He had to shut out No. 10 (Ortega-Martinez) and No. 10 had no goals, so I was a happy guy," Haynes said.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Jags did muster a better showing in the second half, specifically relating to possessing the ball.
It allowed for more opportunities to fire on goal, but Trojans sophomore keeper Deshawn Carty flashed his athleticism on multiple occasions to notch his third clean sheet.
Though not thrilled with the overall effort from his group, Haynes is satisfied with the result and feels Central is in the driver's seat after defeating league favorite Terry Sanford last week.
"The good teams– they win their conference by winning the ugly games. That was an ugly game and we won," Haynes said.
"We want to go from 0-8 to winning the conference. That would be nice."
Logan Stroud scored a second-half goal for the Trojans, who also held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Central is scheduled to host Pine Forest Wednesday, then Western on Thursday. Overhills is set to welcome Triton Wednesday.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 230-2040.