Chris Wilson garnered the respect many thought he deserved.
The Lambert boys soccer coach was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas Region Coach of the Year in December and was among seven finalists for National Coach of the Year.
Wilson guided Lambert to a 23-0 season and the Class AAAA state championship and finished the year as the No.1 team in the nation by the NSCAA.
"Personally, it’s nice to be respected by your peers," Wilson said.
"This helps Lambert and the [soccer] program make a connection outside of our area. We had a special year last year, there’s no doubt about it."
The Longhorns have 14 players returning, including the entire midfield, but Wilson must combat complacency.
"Opponents know who we are," Wilson said. "We don’t have to be 23-0, but we’re still going to aspire to do it. We were real fortunate to be the No. 1 team in the nation; it was a storybook season. The kids I have this year know what the program’s expectations are. We aspire to [win a state title] again."
In order for the Longhorns to repeat as state champions, they must fill the void star Bakawsu Kinteh left.
Kinteh broke the school record for most goals in a season with 44, four of which came in the championship match.
"I don’t know if you can replace B.K., but we had a guy in Iain Smith [Lambert graduate and current Clemson University player] that scored 30 goals," Wilson said.
"… We actually may be a more balanced team than last year because of our midfield. They’ve been in the system. They could all score a lot of goals."