The boys soccer season is quickly approaching once again, with teams like Bellarmine Prep and Stadium kicking off their nonconference slate this weekend. We preview the season with our annual quick look at how the Tacoma schools are shaping up.
The Tigers want to erase the memory of a quick district playoff exit last season, and have the pieces to do so in midfielder Jacob Beardemphl and forwards Max Harvey and Andrew Foreman. The senior trio is intelligent and attack-minded, assuring that Stadium should have a potent offense.
The challenge could be on the defensive side, as a couple defenders – including all-league sophomore Bryce Ikeda – will be injured for the first couple matches. But if the defense holds up, the Tigers could contend for the league title.
“I’m coming in to try to bring back a winning mentality, and I want nothing less than the Narrows League this year,” said first-year head coach Adam Becker.
Becker noted that sophomore forward Gabriel Castillo could also come in and make a big impact on the offensive side.
The Lions were depleted by graduation, as they lost 14 seniors including seven all-league first teamers.
Junior forward Drew Barker and sophomore midfielder Connor Thompson return to lead the way, but the Lions will be breaking in a lot of younger players.
“It’s going to be an interesting deal for us,” said head coach Joe Waters. “We’re going to let these guys show us what they can do and work them into what we want them to do.”
Waters noted the goal, as always, is the state championship, but that the Lions also will work to build for future seasons.
The Rams are another squad who lost a large amount of senior leaders last year, including league MVP Chris Peterson. And with a couple of marquee underclassmen debating whether to return to the Rams or continue training with academy teams, Wilson could have a majority of new faces in the starting lineup.
Sophomore midfielder Munassar Saleh should take on a leading role this season, and junior midfielder Hirvin Canchola-Corral should also take on a bigger role. Sophomore Pedro Ramos returns to lead the defensive effort, and senior Matvey Shitik is a leading candidate to take over in goal. A key for the Rams will be to replace the scoring production from their senior leaders last year.
“I think it’s going to be by committee this year…which is fine by me,” said head coach Jason Gjertsen. “As the season progresses, we’ll find out who that guy to step up is.”
Gjertsen noted that seniors Zach Schneider and Jose Ramos and junior Scott Scheerer should also make an impact.
Coming off their first ever district playoff appearance, the Falcons will look to go even farther this season. Interest is growing in the program, and despite losing a couple of all-league players, the Falcons return an experienced group.
Sophomore leading scorer Jesus Perez returns to lead the offense, and senior midfielders Pablo Santos and Phillip Saucedo should control the middle along with junior Rene Ramos. Senior Eric Lemus also returns, and senior Koby Nguyen and junior Darren Yann will move from the outside to help secure the interior defense.
Head coach Mark Kramer calls this the most complete group he has coached. “They’re hungry, because they take that (playoff) loss last year to heart,” he said. “It felt good to be there, but we feel that we should have been through.”
The Abes will be a senior-heavy squad, led by defenders Jhonatan DeLaCruz and Jose Trujillo-Zuniga and forward Juan Vicente. Senior North Thurston transfer Hniar Ling has also impressed early and should step in right away.
After contending with some top teams last year but making some devastating late mistakes, head coach Monte Gibbs hopes the returning experience should make a huge difference. “For me the biggest thing is going to be consistency and finishing games strong,” he said.
The Abes graduated all-league second team goalkeeper Brian Santiago, but Gibbs noted a couple of talented players are vying for the spot.
The Thunderbirds will look to be more competitive in their inaugural season in the Narrows 3A, as they have a good number of returning players.
Senior forward Brian Wambaa returns to head the offense, while senior Adolfo Sandoval and junior Jorge Trejo will be counted on defensively. Junior midfielders Cesar Ramirez and Ian Karanja will look to control the middle and make quick, decisive passes.
“We’ve really got to get everybody on the same page and working as a team – putting aside their individual ideas,” said head coach Scott Nelson. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
The Eagles will rely on junior midfielders Kyle Goodman and Nick Zuelsdorff and sophomore forward Tyler Beasinger to lead the charge this season.
The trio of captains are all experienced club players who are aggressive and fast. Junior Trevor Schuler and sophomore Aaron Koh also return and will play key roles, but overall depth will be a challenge.
Still, head coach Keith Beasinger is optimistic about the Eagles’ chances. “This is the best team I’ve coached at Life Christian,” he said, noting the cohesiveness of the group. “This year all we’re talking about is unity, team…building each other up.”
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