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Boys local high school teams ready for season

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Roswell is playing well as they defeated Portales, 5-0 on Tuesday night. (Brandi Richardson Photo)

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Roswell Boys

Roswell boys soccer coach James Vernon is the dean of New Mexico soccer coaches. Vernon knows that this is a year of transition in more ways than one. His team is moving up in classification and will be in the district with Clovis, Hobbs and Carlsbad.

Vernon knows his team will be young but he is counting on the experience of winning a state title in 2013, and a record of 224-88-2 ties to help ease the transition into reclassification. In their district, they will play Clovis, Carlsbad and Hobbs.

Roswell will be young with eight seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen, from a team that made it to the quarterfinals a year ago. Roswell lost to Los Alamos 3-0. They will have to replace all-world players in Robert Rios and Robert Madrid along with the hustling play of Patrick Brown.

The Coyotes opened the season at Cielo Grande Soccer Complex with a 3-0 loss to Onate on Friday. In that game, the Coyotes just didn’t come ready to play, according to Vernon.

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“We didn’t come to play that day,” Vernon said. “We weren’t challenging for balls, we were awful that day.”

On Tuesday night, Roswell got back to playing aggressively by scoring five goals and defeating Portales 5-0 at home.

Roswell may have found another scorer to take the place of the offense they lost last season in junior Eduardo Moya, who scored four goals and Gerard Valdez scored one goal in their win against The Rams.

With nothing new in the system they are running, Vernon will stick with his 4-2-3-1. On offense, they have one forward, but if they get a push, he expects to get eight people in the attack.

One of the biggest concerns for Vernon this year is to find a goal scorer and someone to finish. Vernon cites the example of the game against Portales where they had 13 shots on goal and ended up shooting 20 shots for the game while holding Portales to no shots on goal.

“Moya scored four goals for us last night,” Vernon said. “I really like the way Ismael Martinez is playing right now — he’s stepping up his game. Last night he took two shots from about 30-yards out that rocked the post. He’s a kid that’s never really taken a shot that far out before. I want him to do that. He was striking the ball well. He likes to place a shot. He normally doesn’t kick with power.”

The reclassification doesn’t bother Vernon because they have always played those teams. In fact, if they were in their district some years, they would have won the district, according to Vernon.

Vernon’s dream scenario would be for his team to qualify for state in District 4-5A.

“To be honest, if we could win — come in and win district,” Vernon said. “That’s a goal that I’ve kind of set for myself that we can do this. Just to show people that we can do this. I want to strive to get the wins to qualify for state.

“I foresee that a lot of the competition is going to be Hobbs,” Vernon said. “I feel like we can compete with anyone in the state.”

Vernon feels like one of the key games coming up for his team will be on Friday when they take on Valencia in the Los Alamos Tournament. If they win that game, they will get to take on reigning state champion Alamogordo. Vernon is using this tournament to find out where his team stands and what they need to work on.

Roswell will play at 3 p.m. at Los Alamos on Friday.

Goddard Boys

Last season was a rough season for Goddard soccer coach Fernando Sosa. His team is coming off a 4-15-1 record. Goddard has yet to face competition. RDR sports was unable to talk with coach Sosa for this preview before press time. RDR sports will talk with coach Sosa later in the season and get an update on his team.

They will begin their season against Clovis at 1 p.m. on their home field on Friday.