By Kevin Park
After silencing the critics by earning a spot in CIF round two playoffs last year, the South Pasadena High School varsity boys’ soccer team is looking to pick up right where they left off as the 2014-2015 season rolls around.
Tryouts have officially ended and practices begun as the Tigers have started to work on their team chemistry and personal skills. The team has many returners including seniors Patrick Nelson, Oscar Jaime III, Jordan Jackmon, Kevin Yonami, and Ramon Gutierrez, as well as junior midfielder Oskar Hernandez who will be looked to for leadership.
“A lot of upperclassmen have been playing together for a while” Jackmon said. “We have a good core group that can help the others get to the level we want to be at the start of the season.”
The team has high hopes for the season despite the loss of several seniors to graduation. The Tigers will rely on their chemistry and offense in order to dominate their opponents. However, the team still needs to work on its fitness and agility in order to bring its game to the next level.
“We were actually concerned on how the team was going to look this year, because we lost a lot of the seniors,” Yonami said. “But after we starting practicing, I was pretty amazed on how well we connected as a team. I would say that our team’s biggest strength is the bond we have as a team and the experiences of playing together for many years.”
One more problem that the team faces is the fact that its home field is not available for most of the season, due to the recently announced renovation of the field. The Arroyo Seco Park, Occidental College and Arcadia City Hall fields are all possible options.
“The field situation has plenty of unknowns, but it looks like we will have to deal with it and the best we can hope that we find a field that will be suitable for us to play our games comfortably,” Jaime said. “The soccer players never wanted to stop the renovation for track, we just wanted all sports to be able to use the field we call our home. We are looking good but still have a lot of work to do.”
Their first game is on Tuesday, December 2 against Gabrielino High School at 3:15 p.m.