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2007-2008 Varsity Soccer Season Preview 8/20

As the 2007 – 2008 school year begins, the boys varsity soccer coaching staff is looking forward to another great year.  The team returns 11 players, 7 of them starters, and will see an influx of great new talent from a successful JV team. 

Last year’s team accomplished something that no Valley Christian Soccer team had ever done, tying CCS power Bellarmine 2-2 on January 18th.  This accomplishment, along with a win at Mitty (1st time in 3 years), and a strong tie with perennial power, Gunn High School, were only some of the success last year’s team enjoyed.  The team morale and unity was as good as it’s ever been, and the trend looks to continue to improve this season.

“I’m really excited about this year.  We have some outstanding young men who are leaders in the school, leading our team.  Our focus has been putting a class act on the field, and that will continue.  We’re blessed with some great kids, and I’m really looking forward to it!”  Coach John Basanese said.

The Warriors will return some key members of last year’s squad.

Goalkeeper – The team returns one of the CCS’ top goalies, Austin Mansker.  Austin was selected by the Mercury News as the 2nd Team All-CCS goalie, along with being given ‘Freshman of the Year’ honors in CCS.  Perhaps most impressive was Austin’s being named to the 1st team All-WCAL team as a freshman, something that has not been done in many years.  As a sophomore the coaching staff is looking for great things from Austin. 

“There’s not much I can say about Austin that hasn’t been said a hundred times.  He’s the real deal, and he’s already proved that.  His challenge is going to be never getting satisfied.  We plan to push him to reach his potential, which is pretty scary at this point.  He’s a great kid, we have a lot of belief in him on and off the field, and we’re expecting another great year,” Basanese said.

Defense – The Warriors were affected by graduating players most in the defense.  Losing Nathan Goldsmith, Tyler Williamson, John Field, and David Yun was quite a hit.  However, the defense returns two players who have seen significant time on the Varsity level, Tyler Seaman, and Blake Cardoza.  Tyler has played as a sweeper since his sophomore year, and Blake has filled in for multiple positions.  This pair will be helped out by an crop of talented JV defenders who will make their varsity debuts.  Immediate impact is expected from Jacob Ruiz, and Robert Norman.

Coach Donny Fugate commented on the Warriors’ back line.

“Tyler is a leader, and he’s going to sweep for us.  He’s got big game experience, and that’s going to be very important.  We’ll be young ‘experience-wise’ in the back.  Blake looks to step into a role that he’s ready for, marking up.  He’s a kid with great size, and he’ll do well for us back there.  The JV guys are going to need to come in and play starting roles from the onset, but we think that they’re ready for that.”

Midfield- Easily the deepest position in the Warriors’ lineup this year, the team is stacked at Midfield.  Returning starters include John Walitsch, Kevin Tarangioli, Jake Joseph, Nick Reyes, and Christian de Leon.  The team will also receive a strong lift from the JV team last year including, Britt Nelson, Joshua Rothenberg, and James Gizzi. 

Basanese stressed the importance of being deep in the middle.

“It gets said a lot, but this league is treacherous!  We will need everyone on this team to step up for us to contend, and I think we can.  In the midfield we have several proven players, as well as some unproven.  We’ll see how it all plays out…there is a lot of competition for the starting roles there, and that’s a good thing.”

Forwards – Since Jimmy Coggan and Ronnie Jenkins (’04), the Warriors have not had a forward score more than 5 goals in a season.  This might be the year that changes.  Several top players will share time up top this year including last year’s freshman sensation, Alex de Leon.  Alex stunned opposing WCAL players and coaches with his ability to succeed on the varsity level as a freshman.  The surface has barely been scratched there.  A demanding club season has this sophomore ready to resume his chase of the single season goal record (17 Jimmy Coggan ’03-04).

Alex will be surrounded by a host of impressive forwards including, George Fahmy, Joseph Rosa-Diniz and last year’s JV leading scorer, Trevor Plug.

The coaching staff is looking forward to a shift in the goal scoring responsibilities.

“I’m a forward myself, so I have high standards.  At the end of each game, if we haven’t produced goals, I’m going to look at the forwards.  Their job is to put the ball in the net, pure and simple… I believe that we have the guys up top that will do that for us this year.  Midfielders scoring goals will only take you so far, we need to have our forwards win the games for us,” Basanese said.

Schedule – The Warriors will participate in the Homestead Christmas Cup (opponents not yet known), and host two other non-league games.  One of the non league matches will be against Fresno’s Sunnyside High School who will travel to play VC.  Negotiations are ongoing for the final fixture, and should be announced soon.

After non-league, the WCAL season begins, and it promises to be as tough as ever.  The WCAL is regarded by most as the state of California’s toughest soccer league to compete in.  The Warriors have one league championship (03-04) and are looking to get back to that form.

“Top to bottom, we’re a better program than we were then, hands down.  However, the league gets better every year as well, and for us to get our 2nd league title, it’s going to take hard work,” Coach Basanese said.

Team building- In addition to the ‘on the field’ aspects of the team, the program will continue to place emphasis on developing young men.  The program is well known for it’s non-soccer related activities such as weekly team dinners, team bonding sleep overs, guest speakers (including pro soccer players), morning practices, attending church together.  This year will be more of the same.

“Each year, us coaches sit down to discuss areas where we can improve…even if it’s going well.  I’m crazy like that.  We think there is tons of room to improve this program on the field and off, and we’re taking it to the next level this year.  I can hardly wait for tryouts!” Basanese concluded.

Stay tuned for increased information coming from the website as the season approaches.  If you have questions, please feel free to email coach Basanese at john@vcsoccer.com

Warriors. Family. Everything