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Alex de Leon

2008 - 2009 Valley Christian Boys Varsity Soccer - Season Preview

Warriors.  Family.  Everything.


The program has been building.  The team has taken it's lumps the past few years while it patiently awaited a turnaround.  The expectations will be high this year as the team's improvements will be on display.


Head Coach, John Basanese, and assistant Donny Fugate's squad will return twelve players from last year's team.  Of those players, nearly all of them saw significant playing time and many were starters.  In addition, several exciting players will be coming up from the JV team, and playing key roles.


Coach Basanese points out the progress the program has made, and it's impact on the varsity team's results.


"Our mission was to improve our JV program, because that's obviously our feeder program.  As we've done that, we've been able to leave other players on the JV to get more playing time, and come to varsity as experienced players in the WCAL.  Our opponents in the WCAL have always done this, but we're finally having the numbers, and quality where we can follow this model.  This year, we will witness the significance of this system as we have an influx of last year's JV team to this year's varsity.  We're pretty excited," Basanese said.


The program will hold fast to it's mission statement, and continue to play with class, and respect it's opponents and the game. 


"It's at our foundation.  The coaching staff has worked hard to implement a culture that demands respect of each other, and our opponents.  We will not deviate from that, it's at our core.  We represent Valley Christian, and it's our job as coaches to help mentor and support our student athletes as they become young men.  We take that seriously," Basanese said.


The team's non-league schedule this year will include fixtures with: Piedmont Hills, Santa Teresa, Westmont, The King's Academy, Sacred Heart Prep, and Sunnyside.  VC will also scrimmage Concord High School, and host an alumni game.


Positional previews




The Warriors will return the CCS' top goalkeeper, Austin Mansker.  Austin was named the WCAL's defensive player of the year as a Sophomore, and enjoyed a successful club season that included a call-up to tryout for the U-17 National team in Florida.  A great leader, Austin anchor the VC defense.  Expect to see a bigger, stronger Mansker as he continues to grow physically and as a player.


"We have the best goalie in CCS, and in his age group, he also is one of the top GK's in the US.  We're very fortunate, and he's a better kid than he is a goalie.  Austin is on his way to big things, and we're lucky to have him," Basanese said.




The Warriors will feel last year's senior class' departure in the defense more than anywhere else, losing starters Walitsch, Seaman, and Cardoza.  However, several players who have been waiting in the wings are ready to go, including the versatile Danny Hittler, hard working Jacob Ruiz, and athletic Kyle Grayson.


The coaching staff is also looking at moving senior Jake Joseph to the sweeper position.  Jake plays there with his club, and has shown to bring a calming presence to the back line.  James Gizzi also has played marking back for his club, and will compete for time in the back.


From the JV, the Warriors will get Will Pitman, and Justin Berding who will solidify the competition for time at defender.


"We lost some great players last year, and many of them came from our defense.  We'll miss the leadership back there, but I think the guys we have ready to step in will fill the shoes.  You have to play defense in this league, and we will focus on building from the back.  I'm excited to work with these guys," coach Donny Fugate said.




The midfield will be stacked, with players like Kevin Tarangioli, Justin Cordeiro, Britt Nelson, Alex de Leon, and Ian Karlsson.  The play will run through the midfield where Tarangioli will control the offense with his passing, and Cordeiro will hold down the defensive mid.


The team's leading scorer from last season, Alex de Leon, is slated to drop into a midfield role.  Already one of the league's most exciting players, Alex continues to grow, and already has 12 goals in his young career.  The coaching staff is looking for him to breakout in his Junior season.


"We're setup to have a lot of skill in our midfield.  We have great size in Justin Berding, and one of the WCAL's top passers in Kevin Tarangioli.  We're also going to be creative with Alex, who's been playing midfield for his club, and Britt is a great crosser of the ball on the outside.  We also feel that Justin Cordeiro is one of the better defensive mids in the WCAL. We're excited to see how things come together.  We think we're doing pretty well there."  Basanese said.



The forward line will feature two veterans, and some newcomers.  Trevor Plug, and Joseph Rosa-Diniz play together for their club, and will partner to form the VC strike force.  Trevor's speed and nose for the goal will be a vital part of the VC offense as he sees his role increase. 


Joseph will look to score goals, and use his tantalizing dribbling ability to draw defenses out.


The Warriors will also be trying out reinforcements from the JV with Zachary Theilmann, Spencer Ramsey, and Sam Mathison looking ready to join varsity.


"You have to score goals, or you won't ever win.  We need to be better this year about putting the ball in the net.  We'll have great service from the midfield, so the pressure will be on our forwards to get the job done.  I'm excited to see how Trevor and Joseph respond.  I have a lot of confidence in them," Basanese said.


Coaching Change


The team has also said goodbye to coach David Fugate as he leaves to become the head coach of the girl's freshman soccer team. 


David's replacement will be Donny Dequine.  Donny played his high school soccer for Coach Basanese at Valley Christian.  He was named 1st team All CCS his senior year, and went on to receive a soccer scholarship to Azusa Pacific University.  At APU, Donny went to the National Championship Final game twice, and was an integral part of their success.


Donny also serves at the sports ministry pastor at Venture Christian Church, a fact not lost on Basanese.


"Donny Dequine is a perfect blend of coach for us.  Not only was he successful at VC as our captain, but he's a spiritual leader in the community, and links us to a great youth group over at Venture.  The kids will love him as a person, and benefit from his instruction and leadership.  I couldn't be more excited!" Basanese said.


Dequine will work with the midfielders, and focus on team shape.  Valley Christian is very lucky to have Donny aboard!


Things are lining up nicely for VC to breakout of a playoff drought this year, but as Basanese says, it will not be easy.


"The thing is, we play in one of the best leagues in the state.  We know everyone is going to be good as well.  In my experience, potential is always joined by it's good friend... expectations.  We have expectations this year.  We are not rebuilding, we need to execute, and I'm excited for that."


"The kids are great, the school really gets behind us, and we're going to give it our all."  Basanese concluded.


Soccer tryouts will be starting October 20th!  Details will be coming soon, so stay tuned to the website.


Please note these two important things:


1. No player without a current physical (they last 1 calendar year) will be allowed to tryout.  Please get this done asap!  Turn them into the athletic office.


2. Freshman are not permitted to tryout for varsity until the JV team starts.  This is a WCAL rule, and all freshman who wish to be considered for varsity will be given an ample chance.


Warriors. Family. Everything.