After a year characterized by flawless regular-season play and a late-season collapse, the boys’ varsity soccer team wants to get back on top at the reins of first-year head coach Dave Siracusa.
After finishing with an overall record of 17-3-2 (12-1-1 in league) and losing to Terra Linda in the MCAL finals last year, the team believes it should be back at the top despite losing many key players.
The absence of last year’s seniors will mean younger players will need to step up.
“Eamon [Rogan] is one of the best players on our team and he’s a natural leader so he will most likely fill in one of those roles,” said senior center back Tiago Schwartz.
Sophomore goaltender Harri Hetrick will also play a critical role after a freshman season in which he seemed to be invincible, shutting out opponents in over half of their games.
The team lost six starting seniors. The departures of MCAL Player of the Year Matthias Reimink, all-league striker Julian Ulrich and all-league midfielder Isaac Perper will certainly leave some holes to fill.
“We’ll lose experience for sure,” said Rogan, a junior defenseman. “We’re going to have a younger team which is something we are going to have to cope with.”
The Giants have also lost starters to other Redwood sports. Senior Jack Elders, who started on the varsity team since his freshman year, and senior Noah Talamantes, a varsity player since his sophomore year, will not be playing this year because both want to focus on lacrosse.
“Even if we have freshmen who are really talented, they’re not going to have the same experience as someone like [Elders] or [Talamantes] would have had on this team. They were also leaders on this team so we will miss them,” Rogan said.
According to Rogan, there were many kids last year who had potential but didn’t get on the field very much because of the talent from the senior class. Now there’s a chance for these players to fill those roles and prove themselves.
Siracusa will take over the head coaching duties from Gabe Zieff, who left to attend graduate school. Siracusa is a well-known local coach and has recently coached at the soccer club Marin FC.
“[Siracusa] has been able to coach clubs that are much better technically,” said senior midfielder Simon Halbert. “I think that he will help to improve us as players.”
The team will not have too much time to develop chemistry, though, as its first MCAL opponent is Tam, who is coming off of an unusually unsuccessful MCAL season but should still be a tough opponent, according to Halbert.
“Tam should have a really good team this year. They weren’t amazing last season but I think they have Owen [Schwartz] from Marin FC and other good players,” Halbert said.
Terra Linda will be another challenge for the Giants. They won the MCAL title last year with a record of just 7-5-2 in league play, but will come in with a lot of confidence after beating Redwood in the championship
According to Schwartz, Branson will also be one of the tougher MCAL matches this season despite last season’s losing league record of 5-6-3.
Despite some newfound challenges, the Giants still expect to compete with each of their opponents.
“I think that we need to work for it and just know that we are exactly like every other team out there,” Halbert said.
The team remains optimistic and eager to kick off its season with a lot of new faces both on the field and on the sidelines.