Just a few years ago the Bulldogs reached the pinnacle of Class 6A soccer when they appeared in the state championship match against Russellville. Greenwood lost that 2014 title match, 1-0 in overtime, not knowing that the journey back to the state finals would be so long and hard.
Back then Andrew Post was head coach for both the girls and boys programs, a tall order for any coach. But last year the administration split the head coaching duties between Post (girls) and new head coach Luke Shoemaker, who came from Siloam Springs, known for its soccer tradition.
But Shoemaker stayed only one season, returning to take over the Panthers’ program, leaving the Bulldogs looking for their third coach in just over two years. That responsibility has fallen on new coach Tyler Woods, formerly the head honcho at Beebe.
So the Greenwood boys are looking to recapture some of their former glory and make a run in the state tournament this coming spring under new leadership in Coach Woods.
The Bulldogs have several returning players that saw important minutes last season, including Jack Miller, Chance Pennington, Landon Henning, Kenny Sweeney, Mark Johnson, Grant Ennis, Ramiro Morales, Timothy Eglinsdoerfer, Riley Wan, and Ricardo Sanabria.
Greenwood will be a veteran team with eleven seniors, nine of which are starters. Coach Woods’ three captains include Sweeney, Miller, and Eglinsdoerfer, all seniors. The latter two both play center back for the Bulldogs.
Coach Woods said, “Timmy and Jack hold down the defense. They are our mainstays. They are always going to [do] the right thing.”
Sweeney is the other captain for Greenwood, and he anchors the goalkeeper position. Coach Woods has high praise for the senior, saying “In my opinion [he’s] one of the best keepers in the state.
“He’s had a ton of experience and is always in the right place, typically doing the right thing or making the perfect save at the perfect time. If he was three or four inches taller there would be scouts looking at Kenny to play. He is a really solid player,” said the coach.
Chance Pennington will be in the midfield for Greenwood this season, and he “does a really good job of pressuring folks and distributing balls,” said Woods. Junior Landon Henning “see’s the field really well” added the coach.
Grant Ennis, who recently signed with Harding University to play college football as a kicker, is up top for Greenwood, and is a threat with his speed and very powerful leg.
Coach Woods touched on the strong senior class being a valuable part of the team this season, but said there is a weakness in the lack of winning [tradition] for this group. They won only five matches last season and had just three wins in 2017. But Woods believes he can change that mindset.
”These guys are right on the edge of becoming a team that can win every game. I think one of the biggest things for [them] is knowing that they can win,” said the hopeful coach.
The ‘Dogs are in the toughest conference in the state, the 5A West, but Woods knows they have the potential to be really good.
“If we bring our best attitude and effort, we may not be the most skilled team in our conference, but we can be the hardest working team. And if these guys can buy into that, we will see [positive] results,” he said.
So far the Bulldogs are 2-4 on the young season, but have played well against some very tough teams, including Fayetteville, Maumelle, Little Rock Christian, Muskogee (OK), Van Buren, and Fort Smith Northside.