Max Bluemel calls his wife Sharol a “soccer widow” during the season.
The only girls soccer coach in Frontier history is calling it quits after this season to help at home, as the couple has four children clamoring for dad’s attention more and more as each year goes by.
Before he hangs it up, however, Bluemel is excited about his final hurrah with a senior class that he wanted to see out once they stepped on Frontier's campus as freshmen four years ago.
It was a pleasant start to the season on Tuesday, as Frontier beat Highland on the road 4-0 behind a two-goal performance by Taylor Lucas.
“This is a group that I wanted to stay with since they were freshmen,” Bluemel said. “I made a commitment with those players that I wanted to finish with them and go out on a high note.”
With 12 seniors on the roster and four of them committed to play college soccer, Bluemel has a solid group to go out with.
“We have a ton of experience and it’s a good group to retire with,” said Bluemel, who took over the program during the school's inception in the 2006-07 academic year.
Chloe Sizemore, who is committed to Cal State Bakersfield, scored the team's second goal of the night. Maddie Franklin is headed to New Mexico State and assisted on Lucas’ first goal that gave Frontier (1-0) a 3-0 lead just before the half.
Lucas is headed to Stanislaus State and midfielder Maddie Toomer will play at San Jose State.
Those seniors know the importance of winning for themselves and for their coach that has committed so much to them.
“He told us he wanted to finish out with a strong team,” Lucas said.
Franklin added that the goal is to contend for Frontier's first Central Section title since the Titans beat Garces for the Division II championship in 2013-14.
“How awesome would it be to win Valley in the last year that he is here?” Franklin said.
Lucas said she is also indebted to Bluemel.
“I wasn’t playing my freshman year and he saved a spot for me just to see if I came back in time,” Lucas said. “I still had a varsity spot. It was awesome.”
Frontier had a rough season in 2017-18, going 9-9-1. Still, the Titans finished second in the Southwest Yosemite League behind undefeated Liberty.
With the Patriots opening with a 1-0 win at Clovis-Buchanan on Tuesday, Bluemel knows that the league — with Centennial and Stockdale both expecting to be tough matchups — will not be easy. Still, he feels this veteran group can compete.
“They have had the opportunity to grow as players and become leaders on the field,” Bluemel said. “It works out well because those girls, this bunch, has almost all been here for four years. So they know what it takes to compete at a high level.”
Despite giving up four goals, Highland goalkeeper Viola Anderson made two diving saves in the second half.