SAUGUS — In just his second year as head coach of the Saugus High School boys soccer team, Larry Bolduc and the Sachems reached a level of success the program hadn’t seen in decades.
The Sachems, one year removed from a winless season, bounced back with a stellar 2017 fall campaign that saw them reach the Division 3 North state tournament.
However, Bolduc, a former Sachems player himself who played collegiate soccer at Division III Regis College, doesn’t want his team to stop there. With a taste of postseason soccer, the goals have elevated at Saugus.
“In terms of us moving forward we made it to the state tournament for the first time in 20 years and we’re starting to realize we’re not a Cinderella team anymore,” he said. “We want to make it further in the tournament this (upcoming) year.”
Saugus was defeated in the first round of the Division 3 North tournament last year after a tough overtime loss to Dracut, 2-1. The Sachems finished with a 9-5-2 record in the regular season, a mark that Bolduc wants to improve on as well.
“We want to have a record with around 12 wins or more,” he said.
In order to succeed, the Sachems will rely on talent and leadership from a handful of players returning for their senior year, Bolduc said.
“We’re looking very strong,” he said of the Sachems returning core. “We have a strong returning core group of starters from last year. It’ going to be exciting to see how everyone mixes together on the field.”
However, before next season begins, Bolduc has a different task at hand as he tackles coaching responsibilities in the Bay State Games this summer.
“It’s basically a college showcase,” he said. “It’s a good mix of players and we have a lot of talent.”
The Bay State Games features student-athletes from across the state of Massachusetts in grades eighth through junior year of high school, competing in a tournament that takes place from July 12 through July 15.
Bolduc is coaching that Metro/Central boys team, which includes players from Boston, Everett, Medford, Malden, Revere, and other surrounding cities/towns. His goal was to get involved with coaching soccer players in surrounding areas, and Bolduc feels the Bay State Games provide him the perfect opportunity.
“I wanted to get more involved with kids in the area,” Bolduc said. “It’s a chance a chance to help them and see them play at the next level.”
Along with helping kids showcase their talents and find college recognition from schools attending the games, Bolduc sees the Bay State Games as a great way to branch out to other communities.
“I know a lot of these kids have a chance to make it and play in college,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for that and to meet new kids, get familiar with them and make new connections.”