ELDERSBURG — It’s Day 2 of Century High School’s boys soccer tryouts, and first-year coach Trey Howes watches over the players as they go through a series of stretches to warm up before practice at Linton Springs Elementary School.
Howes, who is taking over the varsity program this fall for former coach Scott Booker, is a 2011 Century graduate who played soccer and tennis for the Knights. He coached the junior varsity boys soccer team last season prior to taking the varsity coaching position, and also has two years of experience coaching Century’s boys tennis team.
After he graduated from high school, Howes served as a program assistant to help coach goalkeepers or wherever he was needed.
“I was itching to get back,” Howes said. “It’s a great opportunity for me as a young guy to relate to the kids and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish this year with some young kids, some older kids. To have the opportunity to coach a varsity program anywhere is important to me and something I look forward to.”
Century senior midfielder Alex Grasso called Howes the “dad” of the Knights’ family and anticipates working with him.
“The work ethic for Coach Howes, how he connects with everyone and kind of acts like he’s on the team makes it easy to do drills,” said Knights midfielder Jackson Glenn. “You know you’ll have his trust during games and everything, so it’s easy to connect with him.”
Century went 53-31-9 in six seasons under Booker and made an appearance in the state semifinals in 2017. The Knights won a state championship in 2003 and made two other appearances in the state semifinals in 2006 and 2009 — the last time they won a county crown.
Century finished 10-3, 4-2 in the county last fall and advanced to the Class 2A West Region sectional final before falling to eventual state champion Oakdale.
Howes said he is prepared to lead the program and continue the success that was built and maintained by Booker, but added that the kids are what help make the program so special. The numbers are smaller and the players are younger, but Glenn and Grasso are confident in Howes’ ability to lead the team to success.
“I think with him being a part of Century at one time and his team going pretty far, he wants to beat that constantly,” Glenn said. “He’s constantly wanting more so he’s going to push us to the next level.”
Grasso earned Times second-team all-county honors as a junior last season, along with Mason Motter and Dylan Hairfield. Sterling Mead, a midfielder, represented the Knights on the first team before graduating in 2019.
“I give a lot of thanks to Booker] and to my volunteer coaches that are here running this so I’m looking forward to getting after it,” Howes said. “Obviously the goal every year is a state championship and we haven’t had one since ’03. I’m not sure we have the team to do it right now, but I’m hoping to get them there, that’s my goal.”
Howes has garnered experience coaching two completely different sports between soccer and tennis. Soccer is much more intense, he said, and it takes up more of his head space. Tennis, on the other hand, still requires a lot of preparation and concentration to yield successful results.
“These games are going to be a little bit more high leverage than I’m used to but I can’t wait for that,” Howes said. “Playing for a county crown, a regional crown, and even a state crown is something I’ve been looking forward to since I stopped playing.”