Retooled Marauders focusing on team chemistry | Boys soccer

New players come in with plenty of talent
By David Pan | Mar 21, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Gustavo Galvan-Vazquez dribbles the ball up the field against Meadowdale Tuesday, March 13, at Goddard Stadium.

The Mariner boys soccer team is preaching patience to start out the season.

The Marauders’ roster saw a major turnover with the graduation of 12 seniors, who led the team to a second place finish in the Wesco 4A. Seven of those players earned either first- or second-team, all-league honors.

A handful of returners are still finding their footing with their new teammates.

“I have a lot of young kids,” Mariner coach Vince DeSimone said. “We have kids that are seniors. Some of them have played. Some of them haven’t played. We have a lot of new faces. They’re playing together OK, but I’m going to need at least four games before I start figuring out what’s going on here.”

The offense was lacking in Mariner’s first two nonconference games, a 1-0 loss to Meadowdale and a 0-0 tie with Shorewood.

The major challenge Mariner faces is developing team chemistry.

“We try to preach the same thing,” DeSimone said. “We are here as a team. This is soccer. It’s 10 players on the field. We pass the ball around. We attack together. We defend together.”

When practices started earlier this year, many of the players were focused just on dribbling.

DeSimone told them that there is no individual work at practice. It’s all about the team.

“They’re doing much better than the first days,” the Mariner coach said.

The overall skill level of the players is high, though the players come in different levels of experience. Some play organized soccer outside of school, while others aren’t involved in any select programs.

“Mariner has good players, strong players,” DeSimone said. “They just need to be put together.”

DeSimone is looking to forward Luis Zuniga-Bedolla and midfielder Edgar Tavares to help guide the Marauders. The two senior co-captains were steady players on last year’s squad, DeSimone said.

Zuniga-Bedolla is confident the new players will be fine once they have some more games.

“We’re lacking a little experience with the new players,” he said. “It’s their first year. I just feel like it’s a matter of time.”

The players are still getting to know each other’s playing styles, said Tavares, a second-team, all-league selection.

“As a team, we’re still adjusting,” he added. “Once we fully adjust, we’re going to have a great season.

Junior midfielder Edgar Guzman and junior forward Franciso Llamas are two others who have some varsity experience.

The Marauders will have a new goalkeeper. Seniors Jesus Esquivel-Orea and Omar Kayi are battling for the starting role.

Another newcomer who looks to be strong up front is freshman Gustavo Galvan-Vazquez.

The Marauders’ offense is still a work in progress with all of the new players still in the process of meshing.

“We’re still trying to connect the defense to the midfield,” Tavares said. “Over time it’s going to get better. We’re going to keep working on it.”

It’s been a long time since Mariner has come into the season with such a young group of players.

“I’m excited,” DeSimone said. “Everybody is pretty much new. It’s a challenge and I love challenges.”

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