It could be a big year for the Goose Creek Memorial girls soccer team.
Now it just takes a successful chemistry experiment of blending old and young.
The Lady Patriots and eighth-year head coach Roman Huizar head into the 2020 campaign coming off a 10-12-4 overall mark, 5-6-3 in District 22-5A play, that saw them miss out of a playoff spot with a last day loss to Friendswood.
With 10 returning players – five of which were starters – and a bevy of touted freshmen, Huizar believes the Lady Patriots are trending in the right direction.
“I am pleased with everything I have seen from them so far this season in practice," Huizar said. “Of course we won’t really find out until we face some competition other than ourselves. The skill is there, the challenge will be getting the senior experience and meshing it together with the newness of the first year varsity players.
“The positive is they are all buying and understand how special this team can be this year.”
The returning players include senior Jailynn Lopez who will be the leader along the defensive spine while senior Tania Rodriguez is expected to spearhead the attack as the leading goal scorer from a year ago. Senior Fatima Medrano can play on both sides of the pitch and was the team’s second leading scorer last season.
“This year we are definitely coming back stronger with the new players coming in to help us and we have seniors that can do it based on the talent that we have,” Rodriguez said. “Coach Huizar believes in us. The freshmen this year have a lot of talent and if we can combine talents we will definitely be better this year.
“The freshmen are only going to help us. We are positive about them coming in.”
Medrano admits the team’s connectivity has had some rough patches early on, but the roster is competitive enough to make it come together.
“The freshmen don’t know how the style of play is in high school and we are here to direct them,” Medrano said. “We have the skill in the middle and our forwards are really fast and that will help us make it to the playoffs. We have a chance for top four.”
Huizar will try to blend those veterans with five freshmen that are expected to do more than just make up the numbers as the midfield could consist of all first-year players.
Kennedy Tristan, Hailey Pequeno, Ariana Veliz, Kayleen Figueroa and Gloria Martinez are expected to provide big contributions.
“The areas we need work in which we won’t really find out until we get some games under our belt is: where can these players can be really effective in the system and style that we want to play,” Huizar said. “The seniors are more than welcoming while the freshmen are more than capable of playing on the varsity. It will just be some time for us to gel together.
“I am excited to have some veteran leadership along with some fresh faces.”
The district will be tough once again and Friendswood should be expected to set the pace.
“Everyone else in this district also has a chance as well and it’s a wide open district,” Huizar said. “Learning from last year, every game is up for grabs, and there are no clear cut favorites. We have to be a better road team this season and get results, that was unfortunately our downfall last season. I believe with the collection of talent we have this season, we have a chance to match up well in this district and compete for a spot in the playoffs.”