Edison Soccer 17/18 Season Preview: Third Time’s a Charm?

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2-0. The score was 2-0 heading into halftime. The Edison Tigers soccer team was up in the valley championship game against Golden West high school. Junior left back Javier de la Torre exclaimed, “Man, this game’s easy coach!” The Tigers walked back onto the field with a swagger that oozed out of their steamy and sweaty heads. Then, with fifteen minutes left in the second half, Golden West scored. The momentum swung like a pendulum, and Edison suddenly found themselves under a barrage of pressure after that moment. Golden West scored again to take the game into overtime, and went on to win the game. For the second year in a row, a formidable Edison season would end with a heartbreaking defeat in the biggest game of the year.

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After the prior year’s catastrophic season, the Tigers were anxiously awaiting the future. Seniors Mckay Romero, Christian Flores, Connor Capello, Edgar Garcia, and Jose Esparza were ready to move on in their lives, with this loss forever implanted in their minds. There were a only a few seniors on the squad, and Coach Olukanni started Flores, Romero, and Capello. These three played critical roles: Connor as the leader of the back line, Christian as the heart of midfield, and Mckay as a go-to playmaker. Off the bench, Jose had a vital role as the goalscorer who could change the pace of the game in the blink of an eye, while Edgar would step in and deliver whenever he was needed. It would be impossible to replace what those guys did for the team. Fortunately for Edison, there were already players on the squad capable of filling those positions, and there will be a great number of players trying out. With tryouts rapidly approaching, the team will surely be just as powerful, if not more.

Despite losing some of their most important players, the Tigers featured 10 juniors, 7 of which started in the valley championship game. The team also included 2 sophomores and 1 freshman, with 1 from each class starting in that game. The return of 13 players highlights an important aspect of this year’s squad: continuity. These players have at least a full season of experience at the varsity level. They also will have at least a full season playing under Coach Olukanni, meaning they already have an understanding of his system and how he likes to play. This can only mean good things for the Tigers, as the squad will only continue to improve their chemistry and ability to play their coach’s style. Not to mention, most of these returning players will be seniors. Having a squad composed of older players provides a big advantage for Edison, as they are more developed in both the physical and mental aspects of the game.

We were able to sit down with Head Coach Dr. Femi Olukanni, to get some additional insight on the upcoming season. Although the season did not end the way he hoped, Coach Femi summarized how he felt about last season with one word: “Great.” He praised the team’s consistency since the start of the season, saying, “When you have a good start, it shows that you are ready for the season.” When asked about what attitude he wanted his players to adopt this season, he responded, “To stay disciplined, and to be humble.” He stressed the importance of discipline for a good soccer team, adding that, “Before you can think about winning, you must be disciplined.” Lastly, Coach made it clear what his expectations are for this season. “Valley Championship, that’s it.”

The players aren’t the only ones that are excited for the upcoming season. We spoke to a few fans and they seemed just as excited to watch the Tigers play this year. When we asked Christian Ambriz about his expectations for the upcoming season, he said, “Valleys. They been to it 2 years in a row and you know what they say, third time’s a charm.” Daniel Andaluz also expects the Tigers to win valleys as he was quoted saying, “They were up 2-0 at Valleys with almost the same squad so I’m pretty sure they can win it this year.”

The Tigers will begin conditioning on October 17th, 2 weeks before tryouts, and 2 and a half months prior to the start of the regular season. They’ll look to be extremely prepared come January, as they will take part in a tough preseason which will feature two tournaments and tough matchups against schools like Roosevelt and Lemoore. The overall sentiment heading into the season is more than positive. Two years of disheartening defeats seem to serve only as motivation for an experienced group of players. With a chip on their shoulders, the Edison Tigers appear to be primed to conquer that ever elusive valley championship for the first time since 1999. For many on the team, it will be their third and final try.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Edison Soccer 17/18 Season Preview: Third Time’s a Charm?”

  1. Mahaynes on December 6th, 2017 7:12 pm

    Eric Gaytan, Bacilio Jauregui, Joaquin Ayon, and Jesus Sandoval, You guys are awesome! Are you all soccer players? I’ll make sure I get to a few games. Great job on this article.

    [Reply]

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Edison Soccer 17/18 Season Preview: Third Time’s a Charm?