Defending their CIF goals

After ending the post-COVID season with an impressive 7-5 overall record, Diamond Bar High School boys soccer plans to replicate their previous success with a tough preseason. 

Starting the preseason in full force, the team defeated Division Two school Damien High School with a conclusive 4-0 win last Thursday. 

“Everyone worked hard and left everything they had on the field,” holding midfielder and captain Jackson Haynes said. “This is a great start to the season.”

In preparation for the season, the team has spent countless hours conditioning and finishing their shots on goal—something the team struggled with last season. 

With last year’s star defending players off to college, the team is also in the process of training its new defenders and finding the best line-up for play. Head coach Pete Orosco hopes that these pre-season games will challenge his team and build up the necessary skills for League games. 

“Our challenge will be building experience with our defense as quick as possible without giving too many opponent goals,” Orosco said. 

 The boys team, which plays in the Mount Baldy League, must play well against Los Altos, Wilson, South Hills, Rowland and Walnut to qualify for CIF. 

“Our team goal this season is to get back to CIF and get deeper into the rounds,” he said. “We also have a goal of winning the division.”

Despite the challenges the team faces defensively, Orosco thinks the team’s midfield has the ability to control the field and accurately distribute the ball—a key factor to winning games. However, Orosco said the team should learn to better transition the ball between the offense and defense, which is also integral to the success of their games. 

“This year our midfield is stacked with some great defensive and attacking midfielders,” Orosco said. “If we can control the middle third of the pitch, we should do well.”

Leading the team is Haynes, who Orosco praises as an outstanding leader and role model. The co-captain, hand-picked by his teammates, is center and defensive midfielder Damian Mata. Other players Orosco recognizes as standouts include left defensive back Michael Chang, midfielder and striker Thomas Gomez, goalkeeper and center back Matt Lotto and goalie Nick Murray.

“We have quite a few standouts and I am excited to see how everyone handles the pressure,” Orosco said.