FAIRFIELD — The 2013 boys prep soccer season is starting to heat up, and as time goes by, the games become that more important.
Armijo High is coming off back-to-back Monticello Empire League championships, while Vanden is off to a fast start in the Solano County Athletic Conference.
Here’s a look at this year’s city teams:
The Indians will have some work to do, even coming off two straight MEL titles, having lost nine seniors from last season’s roster, including goalkeeper Brandon Brimer, forward Jorge Zepeda and outside midfielder Trevor Flynn.
But who Armijo has back may be more important: MEL Offensive Player of the Year Christian Diaz.
Just a sophomore, Diaz will team up with midfielder Edgar Padilla on the Indians’ attack. Padilla is back for his senior season after taking last season off.
Coach Brad Burzynski noted that his team will be strongest on defense, with Jacob Less, Luis Gonzalez, Michael Tong and Colby Hatfield – all seniors – seeing time last season and will carry the work load this season.
The coach also said newcomer Sebastian Bouchet is playing this season after spending last year playing with Benicia High.
“He can score goals, but I’m most impressed with his ability to see the field and pass the ball,” Burzynski said. ”We are looking to repeat the same formula from last year, which is to build the team as the season goes on. We know that we are not hitting our stride yet and that is OK.
“We came on at the middle of the season and finished very strong last year. With young teams, that is usually the case. We are quite young again and feel like we are in a similar position as last year.”
The Vikings were second in the SCAC a season ago behind Benicia, but with eight returners this season, Vanden could make a run at the title. The Vikings already have a win over the Panthers.
Riley Pedro, Dominiq Laird, Steward Pimienta, Yousef Rezagui, Patrick Dazo, Jando Lara, Santino Atanasov and Enrique Vega are all back in 2013, while coach Roy Darbison will look to get contributions from newcomers Eddie Torres, Jared Vitug, Brandon Gajeske, Alfonso Torres and Josh DeVoe.
“The boys are working hard to get results that the school has never gotten before,” Darbison said. “Coming in second in league last year, our returning players are hungry to win it this year and that fever has infected the whole team. If we can stay focused and healthy, we have a good shot of doing just that.”
The Mustangs struggled in the MEL last season (0-15), and coach Dale Daniel is looking to get some better results this season.
Misael Caballero, Anthony Mondragon, Chris Wilkins, Alexis Lopez, Eduardo Nuno, Nathan Pena and Tyler Whitted are all back this season, with Zachary Christ, Amari Polynice, Brandon Cuevas and Gerardo Vega joining the varsity to help turn things around in 2013.
“We are still a very young team and our goal is to continue to develop as a team and keep building for the future,” Daniel said. “We expect to become more competitive, as we did last season, with each and every game. I admire the attitude of these athletes and their work ethic knowing we have a tough task ahead of us in every game.”