2018-19 Foothill League boys soccer preview

Prep boys soccer is set to kick off this season’s Foothill League slate on Friday with all six schools seeing action.

Hart is the reigning Foothill League Champion after going undefeated in league play with a 9-0-1 record and returns All-SCV Player of the Year, junior Lawrence Luna, who finished the season with 20 goals.

“Just to do better than last year,” Luna said of his objective after a win against Los Alamitos earlier this season. “Just get further and take all these wins. League is tough but we just have to keep winning every game that we have.”

The Indians open up league play hosting a Golden Valley team that went winless in Foothill League play last season, but returns scoring leader Robert Castro and Johnny Saavedra. The Grizzlies also welcome new head coach Ken Claborn, who takes over for Freddy Wheeler at the reigns of the Grizzlies program.

Hart and Golden Valley play at Hart at 3:15 p.m.

The 2017 second-place finisher, West Ranch, will try to claim the top spot in the Foothill League behind Jacob Gendein and Josh Swansons who have both made a name for themselves as smart and intuitive players.

Canyon, which tied with West Ranch last season, looks good to begin the season after getting a 3-0 road victory at Calabasas Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Seniors Tito Gonzalez and Joe Lucia look to wreak havoc among Foothill League defenses with their attacking style of play for the Cowboys.

Canyon hosts West Ranch at Canyon at 5 p.m.

“I think we can be very competitive in league,” coach Robert Benavidez said. “It just depends on if we come with the right mindset to play. In the Foothill League you have to be ready to play both mentally and physically.

“You’re going to make mistakes, it’s how you react when you make those mistakes. So we just have to minimize our opponents’ opportunities and maximize on our opportunities.”

Looking to finish better than fourth and fifth place, as they did in 2017, Valencia and Saugus open up league play against each other at Saugus on Friday.

The Centurions return scoring leader Dylan Sullivan from last year’s team, who scored eight goals on the year. Saugus also returns Frank Ornelas, who figures to play a bigger role on this year’s team.

“We just have to make sure that we are playing our game properly, moving the ball well and working as a team defensively,” Saugus head coach Seth Groller said. “We just have to make sure we have that down before that first game against Valencia.”

Valencia got off to a shaky start in 2018 going winless in the first two matches, has won the last two games, scoring seven goals in both matches combined.

Senior forwards Luke Fowble and Brennan Book will look to create numerous scoring opportunities for Valencia throughout the year.

Adan Saldana will be the connecting piece in the midfield for the Vikings by setting the pace and transitioning from offense to defense.

Alexei De Vita and Evan Ross form part of the stout backline for the Vikings with Philip Stulman in between the posts.

“I think we will be competitive and have some good success,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio. “Our challenge is to create scoring opportunities and finish them just like every other team in the league. I believe in the end we will be one of the teams vying for a top spot.”

Valencia and Saugus begin league play against each other at Saugus at 3:15 p.m.

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