New Coach Optimistic About Upward Progression for Scots

HP girls aim to build on district soccer title while eyeing deep postseason run

During his extensive soccer coaching career at the college and high school levels, Scott Turner has always admired the Highland Park boys program from afar.

Now he’s tasked with continuing an upward trajectory for the Scots, with aspirations for turning HP into a perennial powerhouse.

“It was always something I would think about if the job opened up and the timing was right,” Turner said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Turner is a Lake Highlands native who was an assistant at his alma mater for the past three seasons. Before that, he guided Bryan Adams to consecutive district titles as a head coach. He also previously was the head coach at Northwood University and worked as a volunteer assistant at SMU.

He replaces Salvador Richie, who led HP to a pair of district crowns in four seasons and is now the head coach at Colleyville Heritage.

Turner takes over a program that narrowly missed the playoffs a year ago in a very competitive District 7-6A, won by Lake Highlands.

He favors a possession style to push the ball forward and generate scoring opportunities, which requires discipline and technical skill.

“You are going to produce more offensive chances in general. You’re getting the ball closer to the goal, and generally those chances are higher quality,” he said. “If we have the ball a lot, the opponent will find it difficult to score unless we make an error.”

The Scots will have several key returnees on the roster, including seniors Reid Valentine and Paul Michael Healy, plus juniors Jack O’Grady and Hafeey Shah. Elias Taft is back after playing last season in Spain, and Justin Ratner likely will take over in goal.

“The talent is there, and if you add that teamwork, it can evolve,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of excitement.”

Meanwhile, the HP girls will look to continue building on a stellar 2023 campaign that included 21 wins, 113 goals, and a 7-6A regular-season title before a second-round playoff exit.

The Lady Scots have a strong core of players returning, led by Emerson Andrews, Elle Jones, Addie Brink, Isabella Davis, Lucy Cox, and Reagan Johansen.

Both HP squads will host their annual tournament at Highlander Stadium during the first weekend in January before district play begins on Jan. 9 (boys) and Jan. 23 (girls).

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