Senior Leading the Charge

Yusheng Xia, News Editor

Looking forward to a strong season with the goal of clinching the Palomares League title, the Diamond Bar High School boys soccer team emerged from its preseason schedule with an impressive nine wins out of 13 games.

Led by coach Kemp Wells, the team is now a few games into its league schedule after their recent 3-1 win against Ayala last Friday and hopes to establish an identity based off the information learned through the previous matches.

“Preseason games are important so we can figure out who can play in what position and what the best lineup combinations are going to be,” Wells said.

Wells has used the preseason matches to identify and assign individual positions to team members as well as set substitution rotations. Noting that the fluidity of the game often has players switching between positions during matches, Wells is pleased with the versatility of this years team and stated that many of the key members are able to switch between positions with ease.

“The nature of soccer does kind of flow so players can move positions. Our better players can easily move from two or even three positions and the way we work our system, some of the positions are pretty different so it shows how versatile we actually are,” Wells said.
With many of the core members intact, the team has started off the season with an impressive defensive presence as the players successfully adapted to a defensive scheme taken up from last season. Although the team’s defensive intensity has been impressive, Wells has stated that the team’s offense has not yet reached its full potential in large part due to injuries to many offensive players.

However, a silver lining to the situation has been the opportunity for new players to step up into the injured players’ roles and gain critical experience that the team needs when the games start to gain importance. Wells believes that increased playing time early on in the season helped prepare players to compete against the tension and nervousness that often accompanies critical games.

“We had several senior players who were unavailable for different reasons so it was a good chance for some of the younger guys to step up and make claims for the different positions,” captain Jordan Wong said.

Wong is one of four of the captains leading the team. The other three are Guy Horcasitas, Andre Gamboa, and Naethin Herrera. Many new players consider the leadership of the captains crucial to the success of the team.

“The captains have shown a lot of leadership on the field. Even though I don’t play a lot, when I do, I feel comfortable playing under their leadership,” first year member Jason Yi said.

In addition to the experience gained during preseason, the team has also sharpened its skills through the practices, which emphasize a need for strong defense and quick offensive transitions. Wells has this year’s team follow a game strategy that includes a physical brand of defensive followed by aggressive controlled offensive transitions meant to take the opponents by surprise.

“We got some drills where they are fast pace just to make sure that players can handle the speed because we play a pretty up-tempo style,” Wells said.