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BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW: Traditional power Jefferson hoping to repeat as SPSL champions
The Thomas Jefferson boys soccer program is one for the history books. The Raiders have won a state-record seven big-school championships and 19 South Puget Sound League titles.
Jefferson is hoping to add to that unmatched soccer tradition this year and the Raiders just might have the players to do it. Head coach Dave Hanson brings back a bulk of the lineup that won the SPSL championship a season ago and even added three of the best players in the area.
"We should be as good, if not better, than last year's team," Hanson said. "We did not graduate many players."
Back is Brandon Madsen, the leading scorer from a season ago with 10 goals and three assists, and Luis Alvaro Osornio, who finished with six goals and seven assists despite playing in about half of TJ's matches. Osornio was selected as one of 18 soccer players from across the nation to participate in the Sueño MLS nationally-televised player searches in Los Angeles.
Also returning is All-SPSL North first-team defender Glenn Carpenter, who finished the year with three goals and two assists.
But Hanson will also have the services of forward Isidro Prado-Huerta and McKay Owsley, who both spent time with the Sounders FC Academy team. As sophomores two seasons ago, Prado-Huerta scored six goals and Owsley pitched seven shutouts as the Raiders' goalkeeper.
With all that talent on the field, Jefferson should control the possession of the ball on the offensive end. The only weakness Hanson sees with this year's squad might be the fact that TJ doesn't have a real aggressive player, according to Hanson. But that could change over the course of the year.
The Eagles are coming off a second-place finish in the SPSL South a season ago and return plenty from a team that finished 14-3-1 last year.
Federal Way was eliminated at the West Central District Tournament by Skyview, 3-2., but return plenty of talent led by Alex Lewis and Garrett Brewer, along with the return of Odason Pelogi.
Lewis, an All-SPSL South selection, is the leading returning scorer for the Eagles after he finished with eight goals and nine assists a season ago. Brewer was a first-team, All-SPSL South pick as a defender after scoring eight goals.
Pelogi didn't suit up for the Eagles a season ago after playing for the Sounders FC Academy Team. He led Federal Way in scoring with 16 goals as a sophomore.
Also returning for the Eagles will be Adam Crosby, Devin Pegues and Luis Sanchez.
With all the talent up front, Federal Way shouldn't have any problems scoring goals, according to head coach Jason Baumgardt. But to win the SPSL South, the Eagles will need to keep possession of the ball in the midfield, he said.
"We will be successful if we can gel together," Baumgardt said. "If we can work together and keep the ball."
Baumgardt will also count on newcomers Carlos De Leon, Tabish Ibrahimi and Felipe Hernandez.
The Gators are coming off a second-place finish in the SPSL 3A Division with an 8-2-0 record. Decatur's only two losses came against the league-champion Peninsula Seahawks.
But the Gators will have pretty much a new team on the field this season. Head coach Sean Smith lost 11 players from last year, including first-team, All-State selection Michael Klavuhn, who finished with 23 goals.
Decatur, however, will field another talented team that should finish at or near the top of the SPSL 3A Division, according to Smith.
"How fast they gel as a team will determine their success," head coach Sean Smith said. "We should do well. We should finish in the top three and are shooting for first."
Leading the list of returners will be defender Spencer Smith, who finished last year with five goals and 12 assists. Smith, who ended up third at the 2013 Mat Classic wrestling tournament, was a second-team, All-State selection a season ago. Also back will be seniors Nick Karis, Luis Cornejo and Jake Ruiz-Velasco. Karis, a forward, returns after missing last season with a knee injury. He tallied five goals as a sophomore.
Newcomers Nick Hall, Ethan Ellis and Lucca Vaccarrini should also provide some depth for the Gators. Smith calls Vccarrini an "impact player."
Bonney Lake looks like the preseason favorite in the SPSL 3A Division, along with Peninsula and Decatur.
The Titans finished out of the playoff mix a season ago with a 6-8-2 record in the SPSL South, but featured a very young roster that will be a year older and more experienced this season.
Beamer brings back seniors Udenze Okoli, Kelvin Horne and Jesse Fite, along with juniors Jong Paek and Aung Ta and sophomore Hassani Dotson.
Horne was second on the team in scoring a season ago with five goals and three assists. Ta led the team in assists with seven, Okoli finished with three goals from his defensive position and Dotson had two goals and two assists as a freshman.
"We have a good, young, hard-working group that will fight to the end," said head coach Brett Lucas.
The Titans also feature a core group of four talented freshmen, which includes Sean Van Earwage, Christian Guzman and twins, Cole and Blair Hoefel.
"We need to do what's best for the team," Lucas said. "Hard work trumps."