REED CITY — Dakota Saez had played football for as long as he can remember.

But during the offseason, the Reed City senior decided he would be playing soccer during the fall season. He’ll be playing left midfielder, although he indicated that could change.

“I didn’t really have time in the summer for football,” he said. “I’ve been working, eight hours a day. Soccer didn’t start until later in the summer.”

He had never played organized soccer.

“Soccer’s fun. It replaces (football) well,” said Saez who had always been a quarterback in football. “I’m getting used to (soccer) really. I’m not sure (of his role) yet. It depends on where they put me.”

Saez plays basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring.

“We’re very excited about having him join the program,” said Reed city soccer coach Dave Mix. “More than likely, he’ll play midfield. He’s very athletic and a quick study. He’s very passionate about soccer right now.”

It will be a learning process, Saez acknowledges.

“It could take some time but I’m learning quick,” he said. “It’s not too hard. You have to be fast and you have to be good with your feet.”

Practices started on Aug. 10.

“There’s a lot of good players on this team, a lot of skilled players,” Saez said. “I’m friends with all of them. Trevor Mund (another soccer player) really talked me into it.”

The numbers allowed the Coyote coaches not to have tryouts. There are 16 players on the varsity and around 11 for JVs. Mix indicated the numbers were around average and that he’s hoping for possibly a few more to come to the JV level.

The first match is Saturday at the Leland Invitational. Action starts at 11 a.m. against Charlevoix. It’s a four-team tournament.

“They shorten the duration of the matches,” Mix said. “We’ll play 30-minute halves. We’ll play 120 (total) minutes.”

Dylan Kichak is a senior returning at goalkeeper. Senior Eric Reed also returns for his third year as does junior Ricky Droke. Reed will be a striker while Droke will play outside mid. Evan Seay is back at sweeper

“We lost eight (from graduation) but we have eight juniors stepping in,” Mix said. “We’ll see excellent competition on Saturday. It will be a good indicator of how cohesively we play as a team.”