Although Bell-Jeff looks to be improved this season under the direction of new Coach Hector Garay — who also coaches the school’s girls’ soccer team — Burbank and Burroughs could be question marks.
That’s because both squads lost more than a dozen players each to graduation. That has left the coaches filling holes and trying to bring new players into the mix.
Unlike the other three local programs, Providence doesn’t play during the winter season. Instead, the Pioneers take part in fall competition, which just ended.
With the season set to begin next week, here is a look at how the local teams are shaping up.
The Indians (16-7-5) not only lost 13 players to graduation, but they also lost their coach, Mike Kodama, who retired.
Kodama stepped down after leading the program for 22 years.
With a wealth of solid senior leadership last season, Burroughs won it second straight league championship and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals, where it fell to No. 1-seeded Channel Islands, 1-0.
The Indians graduated four All-CIF players in senior forward Luis Felix, Gilen Guenther and Derek Olson and senior midfielder Oscar Sanchez. Felix set a school record with 24 goals and led the league with 14 goals.
Taking over for Kodama is former player Allen Machuca. Machuca was an assistant under Kodama for three years and has been with the program since 2002.
With a lot of talent gone from a year ago, Machuca said he is still tinkering with his lineup and getting younger players acclimated to the program.
“I’m still trying to put all the pieces together,” Machuca said. “I’m lucky I have a great guy assisting me this season, [Willie Sims]. He has a lot of soccer experience and he really brings a lot of knowledge to the program.”