The results have been mixed so far this season for the Tacoma Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams, but the talent – both from veterans and newcomers – on the rosters suggests the potential for success in the near future.
The Titan men look to have a strong number of scoring options, having been boosted by the addition of several former high school standouts.
“We’re going to be able to create a lot of goals,” said TCC head coach Jason Gjertsen. “It’s just going to be a matter of if we can defend. If we can defend, we’re going to be right there at the end.”
Among the talented newcomers to the Titans is reigning Narrows 3A co-MVP Pablo Santos, who flashed a strong leg and scored 12 goals for Foss High School last spring. The Titans have also added speedy forward Brian Wambaa, who was a catalyst for Mount Tahoma last year. The two should combine well with the Titans’ veterans, as former Wilson star forward Chris Peterson and two-time SPSL 2A MVP Cesar Esquivel – from Fife – provide TCC with more dangerous options. Freshman Suwilanji Silozi and sophomore James Glavin, both from Bonney Lake, are two others to watch on the offensive side.
But Gjertsen noted that “our most dangerous player overall” is sophomore Joe Snow, who not only possesses strong scoring ability, but defends well. Through four games this season, the Titans had scored eight goals, with a different player accounting for each.
While the defense has been slower to develop, Gjertsen is encouraged by the return to health of Michael Dick, the former Bellarmine Prep star who arrived at TCC after playing at Saint Martin’s University last year. Freshman Austin Hammer should also solidify the defense after nursing a back injury.
The Titans will look to a pair of freshmen – Stadium grad Ian Fry and Emerald Ridge grad Nicolas Lopez – to try to establish themselves at goalkeeper, as the two have split time in the early going.
Similar to the men, the TCC women’s soccer team is still rounding into form, as players have been playing in several different spots to see where they best fit. But the group features a few very talented incoming freshmen who have impressed Gjertsen, who took over as head coach of the women’s team this season. Among them is former Gig Harbor standout forward Toria Southworth and former Curtis forward Shayli Housman, who transferred in from Washington State University. The duo should see plenty of action up front along with sophomore Alejandra Zuniga, a Lincoln product who Gjertsen called one of the team’s best players.
Sophomore Rachel Kimmerly, who scored two goals against Wenatchee Valley in the early going this year, offers the Titans the versatility of playing in the middle or as a defender. But Gjertsen noted that replacing star defender Nicole Davis – out for the season with a torn ACL – will be a challenge. Gjertsen is counting on Curtis grad Hailey Bell to be solid in goal for the Titans, who have stumbled out of the gate defensively.
“We’re not as happy with the results we’ve had, but we’ve been playing some good teams and have gotten better,” Gjertsen said.
The Titans’ women will host Lane on Sept. 14 at noon, while the men follow that by hosting South Puget Sound at 2:15 p.m. The teams will travel to take on Pierce College at the Heritage Rec Center in Puyallup on Sept. 18, with the women playing at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 4:15 p.m.