After a 17-7-14 season, the worst finish in 17 years, the young Vipers squad needed to show that they had hit rock bottom and were ready to right the ship.
Their 21-9-8 finish proved that they were indeed steering in the right direction.
There were ups (beating two top six clubs in the final four games).
And downs (losing to two bottom tier clubs in the middle of the season).
But as a whole, this season was a step in the right direction.
A step that Greensboro owner Chris Fields hopes is just the second stride on a long walk to the top.
Basically, Fields set out a 10 year plan after the club's championship in season 27. Fields knew that his club had got the most it possibly could out of a strong generation of players. The club had won three championships in a five year period and was simply out of gas.
After that championship, Fields and management came together to design a plan of replacing older retiring players with young talent.
The club and Fields had a strict policy of allowing tenured players to retire on their own terms. Fields believes in building a family atmosphere. That belief is why Fields shows such ardent loyalty to the Viper veterans.
With that in mind, Field and his team of management planned a longterm plan that allowed the Vipers first generation of championship players to retire on their own terms, while still rebuilding the roster relatively quickly and efficiently.
In the seasons following the third championship, the club quickly showed that time had caught up to it. The team dropped to 5th in season 28 and 6th in season 29.
After the 6th place finish, in the third season of the ten year plan, the roster was nearly halfway turned over to the new generation.
The combination of youth and age showed. The clubs 9th place finish in season 30 was the bottom of the bottom.
But during the offseason, Fields and co. remained true to their plan. They brought in a bevy of young and experienced players to help restock the roster, such as Dunlang Moiles and Benjamin Kevin. The additional experience and talent showed.
You could say it started with Moiles in the defense.
Finally, the new talent at defense and striker needed someone to bridge the gap. That gap was filled by three 19 year old midfielders. Carleton Lorigan, Ivor McGeough and most importantly, Bailey Aspenlind provided energy, enthusiasm and creativity between the boxes. The trio, two of them defensive minded, were fierce competitors that gave the team a much needed jolt when the older defenders and strikers grew tired. "Their energy is infectious," said keeper Kylan Hartman, "you can just tell everyone's effort gets better when those guys are working their tails off box to box."
As a whole, the units came together very nicely. Veterans like Benjamin and Sequeba led the group of youngsters to both wins and progression. Progression, really the key to this year's team, will again be a focus for the Vipers next year. If they are going to improve on their finish, the young talent can't rest on their laurels.
While this season can easily be deemed a big success, only if the young players continue to improve will Fields' longterm plan come to fruition.