Bakirdan looks to build on Metamora soccer legacy

Justin Miller Woodford Times

With a first year head coach, the Metamora Redbirds are ready for a fresh start to an already storied legacy on the soccer field.

“I told the kids that I want them to know that this is a fresh start for them,” coach Serkan Bakirdan said. “I bought them new training jerseys and bags to symbolize that. We want to keep the Metamora legacy but it is a fresh start for them and me.”

The senior leaders on the squad this year will be Derrick Russell, Shafer Miller, Derek Dragoo, Jacob Craft, Nick Danner and Christian Costello.

“I know Derrick Russell and Shafter Miller are my two most experienced guys and they will be leading our team as captains,” Bakirdan said. “They are going to be our experience leaders.”

The team will be rounded out by a large group of underclass players.

“This year, I know for sure we have one freshman who could be starting and maybe two,” Bakirdan said. “We have three injuries and holes to fill to start the season. I expect everybody to play with the same intensity, whether they are a freshman or a senior.”

Despite the inexperience of the squad, Bakirdan said he still feels they can be a powerful team.

“They are a bunch of great guys,” Bakirdan said. “I love working with them and they are working their butts off in practice. We are playing in a new, back flat four system but everybody has been adjusting well.”

When the team is on defense, they will have to adjust to a new lineup.

“Our defense has, on a whole, four new starters with nobody returning from last year,” Bakirdan said. “It will be an adjustment as they get used to the experience of playing together.

“What I told the guys is that we’re going to keep possession of the ball and wait to see what develops. We don’t want to get in trouble doing that but if we do, we can always kick it out.”

Being a first year coach, Bakirdan has specific goals for his inaugural season.

“My personal goals are like I said in my job interview,” Bakirdan said. “I want to make sure every kid on the team becomes a better soccer player but also a better person off the field.

“I feel like if I do that, I will be successful.”

Besides goals for himself, Bakirdan also has goals for the team.

“I told the guys our goals and they totally agree with them,” Bakirdan said. “I don’t want them to think that if we don’t meet every goal that it’s a failure though.

“We looked at the schedule and we all feel like we should be in every game we play.”

When the season starts, Bakirdan said he feels the team will have the right balance of attitude.

“I believe all the kids are getting along great,” Bakirdan said. “They are laughing and joking around with each other in practice.

“On the opposite side, they know when they need to take things seriously and really focus. Everybody is getting along well and we’re all ready to start the season.”