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New coaches leading way

Burroughs and Burbank both have new leadership and hope to have enough to compete with Falcons.

November 29, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

"Those are a pair of seniors who've been playing for a while, so we are expecting big things from them," Kodama said about the two team captains. "We will need them to lead, and early on they have been great at helping us get back on the right track."

Kodama said he is also expecting good things from a group of returners: senior forward Alex Avelar-Escalante, senior defender Arturo Hernandez and junior defender Jorman Herrera.

Coming up from the junior varsity team is senior defender Ozzie Castro and a freshman who could make an immediate impact is midfielder Andres Aguilar, whose father Luis, played for Kodama on one of his league-title teams.

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In goal will be junior Carlos Cortez.

In league, Kodama said he expects a tough fight from Crescenta Valley.

"CV won it the last two years, so they should be up there," he said. "Generally, most of the teams in the Pacific League this year will be good. I don't think there will be any weak teams. So, it's just a matter of figuring things out."

BURBANK

The Bulldogs (4-8-3 in league for sixth place) won't get much game experience before they open Pacific League play Jan. 3 at Pasadena.

"I'm taking over a team that definitely had its struggles the last couple of years," said Phan, about the squad failed to make the playoffs last season. "I'm just trying to rebuild a program and the guys have responded and been great. I'm just starting with the off-field stuff with the guys; like going to class, keeping up their grades and going along with the program. It's not about soccer as much as rebuilding the program internally."

Phan said having just two nonleague matches is not going to give his team the needed experience to get ready for league play."

"With the limited number of games we're going to have in the preseason it's going to be tough for us," he said. "We play our last game before league [Dec. 7] and we have sit out until all the way to January before be even play again. Us playing just two preseason games, that's what I'm dealing with."

Despite the lack of competition, Phan — who will carry nine seniors, eight juniors and one sophomore — said the Bulldogs should have their share of talent.

Leading the way is senior stopper Giancarlo Gamboa, junior center/midfielder Christian Garcia, senior midfielder David Hacobian, junior forward Dennis Palacio and senior midfielder John Trujillo.

"There are a few other guys, but they will be battling it out," Phan said.

The team's goalkeeper will be senior Ryan Tiegs.

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