Last season was a good season for the Yosemite High boys varsity soccer team, finishing with an overall 9-12-4 record and advancing to the first round of the CIF D-III Central Section play-offs.
"We are going to try and build on that success for this year," said coach Rick Lemberg. "We are an interesting collection of players we have 10 seniors, three juniors, and six sophomores ."
The seniors include Austin Bain, Carson Conti, Chance McGee, Alex Mello, Michael Neff, Devon Potter, Tristan Rhoan, Victor Salazar, Criag Stieler and Tristan Webb. The juniors are Oliver Curley, Tyler McIntyre, and Summit Pears. The sophomores include Paul Esposito, Tanner Meeks, North Tuso, Tyler Wallace, Travis Wood, and Trevor Wood.
"We are using a new formation for us this year," Lemberg said. "It is a 4-2-3-1. It offers an exciting style of play, but is a significant change from what we played last year (4-4-2). This formation requires much more movement by the players and morphs from a strong defensive formation to a strong offensive formation quite easily. It is not a simple system to learn, and we have been working hard on learning it. So far, with a scrimmage and game under our belt, I think the young men have done extremely well."
Forwards will include Stieler and Esposito. The midfield will be held down by Mello, Salazar, Conti, Potter, Rhoan and Pears. Defensive midfielders will be Bain and Curley. The backs will be MeGee, Meeks, Neff, Tuso, Wallace, Travis Wood and Trevor Wood. The team's goal keeper is Webb, with Salazar as back-up keeper.
"We are looking for leadership from our seniors and we are looking for energy and excitement from our sophomores," Lemberg said. "This team has some talented players and we are hoping and expecting to make the playoffs."
The Badgers scrimmaged Madera South to a 1-1 tie last week. Craig Stieler made the first score of the season for the team.
Yosemite played Clovis High to a 0-0 tie last week.
"We went to two 10 minute overtimes, but no one scored," Lemberg said. "We had 11 shots on goal and Clovis had 12, but both keepers did a very good job not allowing any shots into the net."
Assisting Lemberg with the varsity is Bill Stolp and Adam Kernaghan. Lance Boyer is the new JV coach who is in his first season.
The Badgers play at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) at Fresno High and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, in the Sierra High School Mountain Match-Up tournament.