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Teams looking to fill positions

Squads have their share of talent, as coaches try to shuffle their lineups heading into season.

November 20, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY

After a second-place finish last season in the Pacific League, the Burroughs High boys' soccer team lost a large group of players to graduation.

The biggest loss was midfielder Francisco Baez, and All-CIF Southern Section Division III first-team selection who tallied 18 goals and nine assists. In league play, he scored all 18 to set a new school season mark for scores in the Pacific League. In addition, the Indians graduated Kevin Garcia, a senior defender who was a second-team All-CIF selection and senior defender Ozzie Castro, a third-team All-CIF choice.

However, the Indians received an influx of solid players and coach Mike Kodama expects the team to be right in the league hunt.


"We had a bad start last year," said Kodama, whose young team had its worst start to a season since 1985, going 1-5-1. "We need to get out to a better start this season."

The other two area teams, Burbank and Providence — Bellarmine-Jefferson is not fielding a boys' squad — both have their share of talented returning players after losing key athletes to graduation.

Here is a closer look at how the season is shaping up.


The Indians (10-9-4 last season) played their best during the second half of the Pacific League, but they just couldn't defeat talented Crescenta Valley in two matches. The Falcons went on to win the league title and a Division III championship.

Burroughs won its first-round playoff contest against Mayfair, 2-1, on the road, but the Indians lost in the second round to Santa Monica, 2-0.

"We lost some quality seniors from last season, but we also had a lot of young guys who are back this year," said Kodama, who returned to the program last season after previously heading the Indians for 22 years before stepping down in 2009. "Since we return some good players, it's a matter of filling in the pieces that we lost with the seniors. We also had some guys come back during the offseason."

Two players who have returned after playing in an academy soccer program are senior midfielder/defender Brian Azarte and senior midfielder Manny Celio.

"Having both of those guys back is going to help us a lot," Kodama said. "The only thing is that Manny's injured right now and we might not see him until January."

Also returning is senior goalkeeper Elliott Whitecotton. Last season, Whitecotton began the year as the team's backup but earned the starting spot after playing well in league.

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