Last year heartbreakingly ended with a loss in the first round of the playoffs to Maryville. The bright and strong flame burning inside them had faded out in an instant. It started all the way back in early August with the first meeting. For many returning players, it was a surprise to see the new coach, Santiago Correa. When the practices first started, regardless of what the players thought, Correa was able to ignite the bright flame within them. Constant conditioning made everyone anxious for February, when they could began touching the ball, but with direction from Correa, the were inspired to work harder. When the season finally got in full swing, injuries among other factors became a debilitating plague. When the playoffs arrived, many varsity starters like Marcos Serrato were out, bringing the end to the Panthers’ season.
Now that the next season has started, an even deeper determination has set in to make something of the season. With conditioning starting later and the days per week lessened slightly, players felt less fatigued and more ready to work the next day. Also compared from last year was the increase in scrimmages which also increased attendance. However, things became more strict this time around in order to cut down on the unofficial current, 59 player roster. Of those 59, some players to watch include but are not limited to the list below
Big Impact Players
Marcos Serrato (12) – Stats will show you from last year the level of play Serrato brings to the field. As a junior he showed his technical prowess, goal scoring ability, and creative vision. Just from the play between October and January, Serrato has displayed his improvement. Even more impressive is his leadership and off field character, two things often missing in players of his talent.
Jacob Loper (12) – Perhaps last year’s best playmaker, Jacob Loper provides a true number 8 roll by backing up the forwards and setting up crucial scoring opportunities. He is also involved heavily in FC Alliance, so he’s constantly competing and learning.
Isaac Waters (12) – For reasons regarding his enrollment eligibility, Isaac Waters was not able to play last year, but he’s shown his versatility in the time he’s been here. Whether it be attacking and getting in the head of the goalkeeper with his bullet speed shots or his leadership in the back, directing the defense, Waters is true box-to-box player.
Marcos Chang (9) – As a freshman, Marcos Chang’s potential and talent rivals even the most guaranteed varsity starters. From his performance in the first team, he’s displayed game smarts and terrific shot power. Also above average is his size which should help in fending off defenders in the attacking third.
Juan Carlos Romero (11) – Juan Carlos Romero was a junior varsity regular but made appearances for varsity last year. In those games he displayed an elite arsenal of skill moves and dug at the heels of the defence. He’ll surely be a nuisance for his opponents this year.
Hunter Hale (12) – Even though he played regularly on varsity as a center back, Hunter Hale was still only in his first year of soccer. Since last year, however, his coordination and defensive decision making has improved greatly.