Mandan’s boy’s soccer team is coming off a season in which they finished seventh in the WDA, but there’s reason to believe this year will be different for the Braves.

The varsity team returns all but one player, so there’s a wealth of experience on this roster, and most of the players have been coached by Aaron McElwee since middle school.

McElwee and his captains say the number one focus early in the season is prioritizing defense, and with that comes figuring out which athletes fit best on the back line.

“The first few games you’re trying to figure out who’s going to do this, who’s going to do that,” McElwee explained. “So those first few games are important, but also you’re trying to figure out some things as fast as you can, because there’s no easy schedule no matter who you play because the games come so thick and fast.”

The Braves open their season at home against Fargo North on August 12th.