Losing only one game out of the final six games they played (4-1-1), Canyons men’s soccer team will try to carry the momentum they finished with last year into the 2018 soccer season.
Finishing the 2017 season in third place in the Western State Conference, South Division with a record of 7-12-2 (4-4-2 WSC), Canyons head coach Philip Marcellin admits that the goal hasn’t changed.
“Obviously, our goal is the same as it’s always been … We are going to try to do what we can to get into postseason play,” Marcellin said. “And the quickest way to do that is win our conference so we get closer than the year before so I think we are making steady progress.”
After starting the 2017 season with a roster loaded with freshmen, the 2018 team is more mature and ready to take on the task of making the postseason.
“Our biggest thing last season was that at one point we were starting 10 freshmen, so this year we have 17 returning players tying the biggest sophomore class we have had,” Marcellin said.
Losing forward Aaron Winsick, who is going on to play for California Lutheran University, Canyons will look to midfielder and Valencia grad Caesar Dominguez, who tied with Winsick for the most goals on the team (9) and finished with 19 points on the year, to head the attacking third of the pitch.
Along with sophomore forward Christopher Alomia and returning forward from 2014 Andres Lozano, who has one year of eligibility left after moving out of state, the scoring production shouldn’t drop off from last year.
“(Alomia) is a West Ranch guy who played for us a little last year, but not a ton,” Marcellin said. He’s developed so well, he’s just as a strong and fast and we are really thinking that he’s going to pick up the slack for us as far as scoring goals because he’s a big, physical and technical player.
“(Lozano) played for us one year and then had to move out of state but now he’s back and is a little older and he will be coming off the bench and is a big addition to the team.”
At midfield, All-WSC First Teamer Jordan Pacheco, along with All-WSC Second Teamers Justin Marquez and Jaime Ledezma should provide some technical and sound passes to connect the back and front lines by creating runs and freeing up players for some potential goals.
“It’s looking good, we have a lot of new players and it’s really exciting,” Marquez said. “I’m just trying to keep it competitive because we all get better as a group because we have to do it together it’s not going to be one of us and just motivating each other.”
The Cougars’ defense will feature players like Kevin Santillan along with Tyler Jovel and Byron Perez, who were moved to the back line after making appearances in 13 and 17 games, respectively.
“Last year we weren’t where we wanted to be, but this year we got our act together and everybody is communicating so I think we are going to pull through this season,” Perez said.
Adding: “We’re going to keep building as a team and as a family to get the job done.”
Local incoming freshmen David Hernandez and Josh Roque of Canyon High School and Jake Erazo from Hart will also look to make an impact on the team after battling stiff competition in the Foothill League last year.
“David is just a fireplug of a kid,” Marcellin said. “He’s a short compact kid who is has a tremendous work rate and can play just about any positional role. Roque is a taller kid that can play center back and holding mid and add Jake who is just a tough player we should be good.
“But we are going to get about three or four games under our belts until we really know what the meat and potatoes really is.”
Finding out sooner than later, the Cougars will have their first scrimmage against The Master’s University today at 6 p.m. at Canyons before wrapping up the preseason slate against Fullerton College on August 24 and officially beginning the season against Cypress on August 28 at Canyons.
“That will be a big test because we got handled by (The Master’s University) last year because we had so many freshmen, so we are interested in how well our first team matches up with their first team guys,” Marcellin said.