For Tiger soccer squad in practice.

So far, so good for the upstart St. James High School boys’ soccer team.

The newest team in the St. James Athletic Department, the Tiger boys’ soccer team is beginning its second season of existence, and its first as a full-fledged varsity squad.

St. James head coach Tom Sawyer has 18 players on the roster this season - up from the 15 he had while playing a junior varsity schedule last fall.

“It’s a huge leap forward, where we are now compared to last year,” Sawyer said. “But we’re still working on fundamental, basic stuff.

“The goal is, when you have a stable program is when your freshman go through until they are seniors.”

And this year, unlike last season, the Tigers have freshmen. There are four freshmen on this year’s roster. “A little more than half of our players are juniors and seniors,” Sawyer said. “And three of our seniors are new this year.”

Practice began Monday of last week and the coach feels his squad is progressing nicely.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot better understanding the whole game - not just chasing the ball,” Sawyer said. “I think we’ve gotten better passing. Just a better overall understanding of the game.”

Sawyer says returning senior midfielders Mason Ragland and Drew Lahman have been providing solid leadership. And senior transfer student Austin Wachter, a forward, gives the squad much-needed skill.

“We’ve had a great addition in Austin,” Sawyer said. “It’s great to have someone who has played for three years.

“And it’s really nice to have four freshmen. Last year we had none at all.”

TIGER NOTES: The squad finished with a 5-7-2 record last season. It was a junior varsity schedule, but a few of those wins were against varsity squads from small schools which didn’t have a jayvee team.

With 18 players, Sawyer said the Tigers will not play a jayvee schedule this year, just varsity games.

St. James is slated to open the season on its new synthetic turf field Aug. 26 against Union (5 p.m.).