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Boston City League boys' soccer preview capsules

Posted by Justin Rice  September 10, 2012 08:47 AM

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Boston English

Coach: Edmar Varela (first year)

Surface: Turf


Strengths:

The Blue & Blue have extremely dedicated players who don’t miss practice, don’t get down on one another and are open minded.

Concerns:

Numbers will be a problem for English.

Outlook

First-year coach Edmar Varela will have no problem relating to his new players.

He was a 2005 graduate from Burke, where he played soccer before he continued to play for Westbury Community College. Now in addition to coaching, he is enrolled at Northeastern and pursuing his graduate degree.

“I want to give the boys a good experience,” he said. “Learn different ways to play, learn the field and of course, win as many games as possible and make it to the city championship.”

Returning starters:

Senior forward Cyril Quave
Senior midfielder Lauber Quitunba
Junior midfielder Irlanbo Gonsalves
Junior forward Ilbo Bires
Sophomore defender Amanbio Ferreira
Sophomore defender Maumaq Bhembi


Snowden

Coach: Joao Barros (second season)

Strengths:

Offense, a sense of teamwork and the players have each other’s backs.

Concerns:

Most of the team’s contributors from last season graduated. The team could also use a volunteer assistant coach.

Outlook:

After fielding a team of only 13 players last year, Joao Barros is looking for at least 22 players this year. The team also draws players from Fenway High and the Josiah Quincy Upper School.

“As long as we have a decent amount of players, this will be a really good season,” he said. “One goal is to win as many games as possible,” he said. “Our biggest goal is to make this the top program in the city, and qualify for playoffs.”

Returning starters:

Senior forward German Bustamante
Senior forward Wilton Zuo
Senior keeper Stanley Gourge
Junior defender Ronaldo Anerade
Junior defender Muhammed Muntasser
Sophomore midfielder Yoines Mejia
Sophomore defender Brian Martinez
Sophomore midfielder Hernan Escobar


Charlestown

Coach: Tim Meho (first year)

Surface: Turf

Concerns:

Keeping the players on the team with focus on academic eligiblity.

Outlook:

First-year coach Tim Meho is looking to teach his players about soccer and teamwork.

“I want to learn as much as I can about the kids, and help them work together, exercise and have fun,” he said.

South Boston

Last year’s record:
6-9-1

Coach: Nathaniel Houghton (first year)

Strengths:

The team has plenty of skill

Concerns:

Organization

Outlook:

Nathaniel Houghton takes over the program after previously coaching at Boston Latin from 2005 to 2008. He is also a physics teacher at South Boston High.

“[South Boston] is an upcoming team that’s doing great,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue it.”

From what he’s seen at tryouts, Houghton said that the team is very skillful; they just “need to keep organized.”

Houghton predicted that his team will have a successful season that ends in an MIAA tournament berth.

“We want to have a good time, kick the ball around and give the other teams some competition,” he said.

East Boston

Last year’s record: 12-4-2

Coach: Lorenzo DiBenedetto (20 plus years)

Surface: Turf

Strengths:

A strong midfield

Concerns:

The defense is entirely new, including the goalie.

Outlook:

Coming off a season in which longtime coach Lorenzo DiBenedetto collected his 200th victory, East Boston is not starting all over.

“My concerns depend on how weak the other teams are,” DiBenedetto said. “We have to rebuild our whole defense and get a new goalie. This is a rebuilding year, we lost about 13 players. A lot of players are coming in that don’t know my system … We’re starting from scratch.”

Despite having so many new players, DiBenedetto still believes the team has what it takes to get to the finals, despite the loss of All-Scholastic Carlos Ruiz.

“We want to be able to be part of the top teams in Boston, get to the finals and qualify for state tournament. We set high goals every year and the team will shape up.”

Returning seniors:

Midfielder Elmar Ventura
Midfielder Marvin Melgar

Latin Academy

Last year’s record: 4-8-3

Coach: Dennis Allen (six years)

Strengths:

Teamwork

Concerns:

Possibility of the team becoming fragmented and the lack of participation in pre-season workouts.

Outlook:

Latin Academy will field a strong mix of high school and middle school students this season.

“Our school is not nine through twelve, it’s seven through twelve,” Allen said. “I am depending on the seniors to encourage and support the young players.”

Despite the turnout at practices, Allen is looking at the season positively.

“Ideally, I want to get to the playoffs this season,” he said. “I think we have a good chance at achieving that. I’m hoping the captains will do their part and help the team succeed.”

Returning seniors:

Midfielder Diego Vimlefuere
Midfielder Khang Do
Defender Nikiendber Pemeri
Defender Erwin Fuentes
Forward Finnerty Aidam


Brighton

Coach: Adrian Kawuba (first year)

Surface:
Grass

Strengths:

Senior leadership

Concerns:

Being able to compete with the league’s top teams.

Outlook

Brighton’s new coach Adrian Kawuba has a strong pedigree. He played soccer in college at the University of New Jersey in Madison and on the under 23 national team in Uganda, and after college he signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. In addition to coaching for Brighton, he started a sports program, AK sportsgroup, that organizes camps and clinics.

Kawuba described Brighton as a “young team,” which he believes has both positive and negative aspects.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year that played a big role [in the team,] Kawuba said. “We need players to step up, and I think they will. There’s a lot of senior leadership, I’ve seen them step up in regards to how training is going.”

Although the upperclassmen are leading the way for the younger players, he has concerns about the competition.

“We’re playing against teams like Madison that are returning pretty much their whole team,” he said. “It will be hard, but I expect these guys to develop at a faster rate because they will be playing against upperclassmen for the majority of the time.”

Despite the skills of the other city teams, Kawuba believes Brighton and all of the city teams have what it takes to get to the city championship.

“I think everyone has a fair shot going into the season,” he said. “I think our team has a chance of winning it all. I’m confident that my team will end up in the play offs, but we’re going to take it one day at a time.”

Returning starters:

Senior midfielder Russell Cacho
Senior midfielder Joshua Depina
Senior midfielder Ralph Lopes
Senior midfielder Gustavo Lupiano
Forward Seth Phillistin


O’Bryant


Last year’s record:
8-7-1

Coach: Ian Doreian (sixth year, 46-30-5)

Surface: Turf

Strengths:

The team has strong defense and a goalie with great hands.

Concerns:

The team graduated three of its best players last year

Outlook:

With one of the more veteran and dynamic coaches in the league, Ian Doreian, O’Bryant is poised to have a great year. They also return a ton of players from last year.

“With a returning goalie, and a solidified back line, we have confidence in building the attack from our half of the field.”

Doreian’s strategy this year is all about teamwork.

“Last year, we graduated three of the strongest attacking players to ever wear the O'Bryant uniform,” he said. “We need to concentrate on making controlled passes rather than relying on individual skill to score goals.”

Returning starters:
-Senior forward Arlix Maldonado
Senior forward Marjo Salillari
Senior midfielder Patrick Powell
Senior midfielder Mendel Moise
Senior midfielder Ibrahim Kallon
Senior midfielder Abdel Gaid
Senior defender Guy Francois
Junior defender Victor Hernandez
Junior goal keeper Greg Morrison
Sophomore forward Junior Depina

Dorchester

Last year’s record:
8-6-2

Coach: Tim Lavin has been the Dorchester boys' soccer coach for seven years.

Surface: Grass

Strengths:

Several experienced returning players

Concerns:

The loss of talented seniors from last year and integrating new players into the system.

Outlook:

Coach Tim Lavin said he believes his team will be stronger than ever this season.

“I’m hoping to build on the past two seasons where the Bears qualified for the state tournament,” Lavin said. “[I want to] continue to develop as a team and be competitive in the Boston City League. If younger players and reserve players from last year can step up and contribute as starters, I believe the Bears can have a successful season.”

Returning starters:

Junior defender Guy Charlot Destin
Junior defender Heroldy Limage
Junior midfielder Jeffery Valbrun
Junior forward Warren Exceus
Junior midfielder Roberson Jacques
Sophomore defender Richardson Valbrun

Boston International

Coach: Djon Ramos (first year)

Strengths:

Midfield

Concerns:

Keeping midfielders healthy

Outlook:

As long as Boston International can stay healthy in the midfield they have as good a shot at returning to the city finals as anyone. Last year they lost to Madison Park in the championship game.

“Stefan Teixeira, a skilled midfielder, is injured,” Ramos said. “Hopefully he will get better but I don’t think he will be able to play the first couple games. It all depends on how he feels by next practice.”

What Ramos isn’t worried about is making it to the city finals.

“They’ve been making the four best of the city finals most years,” he said. “It’s hard to predict because some senior left, but hopefully we’ll have new players.”


West Roxbury

Coach: Daniel McDonald (first year)

Strengths:

Several returning players

Concerns:

The current group of players have only been together for one full season.

Outlook:

While West Roxbury has a new coach in physics teacher, Daniel McDonald, they return several players from last year.

“Our strength this season will be the returning players, we’re a young team,” said McDonald, who played soccer in high school and college and has coached at the youth and club level in Weymouth. “It’s their second year together as a group.”

McDonald hopes to improve immensely this season and help the team get more wins.

“I think we’re going to improve compared to last year from one win,” he said. “I’m pretty positive because of the returning players just getting back together as a team.”

Mary Pavlu can be reached at mary.pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu.

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