Valencia soccer looking forward to comforts of home

Valencia's Tyler Traber (6) prepares to kick the ball downfield during a soccer game at Hart on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Tony Scalercio is homesick.

It’s not that the Valencia High boys soccer coach has been traveling the country, the state or even the county.

It’s that his Vikings have played, and won, five straight Foothill League road games, and Scalercio is ready to roam his home sideline again.

“There’s a big difference playing at home and at someone else’s home,” said Scalercio, whose team will host Canyon today at 5 p.m. “It’s a lot of things. Number one, you get good support at home. It doesn’t matter how far you travel, there’s no place like home.”

MORE: Valencia boys soccer takes down Golden Valley

Asked what difference it makes whether a Foothill team plays at its school or 12 minutes up the road at another Santa Clarita Valley school, Scalercio listed what he feels are the benefits of playing at home.

One, you know your field because you practice on it every day.

Two, you don’t have to get on a bus.

Three, you can meet before the game in a classroom rather than out on the field.

Another factor, Scalercio said, is the Vikings’ familiarity playing under the lights. Valencia, like Canyon, starts its home games at 5 p.m. as opposed to other league teams that host 3:15 starts.

“There’s a ton of stuff that benefits a team playing at home,” Scalercio said. “Going on a five-game road trip and beating everyone on their home field takes a very focused team.”

Evidently, the Vikings (14-2-3 overall) are that, running their league record to 7-0-0 with an outside chance of clinching the Foothill League title today against Canyon.

If Saugus (11-5-4, 5-1-1) loses at Golden Valley, the Vikings can clinch a second straight title outright with a win or clinch a share with a tie.

If Saugus ties, Valencia can take the title outright with a win.

Valencia can’t clinch anything if Saugus wins (the Centurions have beaten the Grizzlies six straight times, by a combined score of 27-3, according to MaxPreps), which would set up a crucial battle Tuesday at Valencia when the Centurions come to visit.

That, though, isn’t what Scalercio is worried about.

“We aren’t looking toward Saugus,” he said. “We do not overlook the team we’re playing. Our whole focus, our whole goal, is to execute the tactics we planned for Canyon and treat it like our championship.”

Valencia’s only loss in league last season came at Hart. Saugus tied the Vikings at Valencia.

Notes: Centurion standout James Johnson, who missed Friday’s game due to a non-soccer-related foot injury, returned Tuesday and scored his 19th goal in a 3-0 win over West Ranch.

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