Boys’ soccer returns with few player losses

By Alex Leichenger

With the return of forward/midfielder Victor Kroh ’10 and a year of added experience, boys’ soccer coach Freddy Arroyo believes his team is capable of advancing to the final four of CIF playoffs.

Kroh was unable to play for the Wolverines last year because of his commitment to Real SoCal, a branch of the United Soccer Federation’s Academy program.

“We’re really excited about him coming back because he’s a playmaker—he can create, he can score, and he’s an exciting player to watch,” Arroyo said.

The team was eliminated in the first round of CIF last year by St. John Bosco. They won seven of 12 league games, while tying four and losing only to St. Francis.

Arroyo considers St. Francis and Loyola, whom the Wolverines tied once and defeated once, to be the team’s toughest opponents. Although Kroh, 2009 All-CIF goalie Alex Silverman ’10, and sweeper A.J. Hong ’10 are entrenched as starters, Arroyo said most of the 11 starting spots remain undetermined.

“On paper, we’re probably one of the best teams in the area,” Arroyo said. “Obviously we have to put in the hard work and the effort on the field, but I have high expectations. And I think everybody on the team was a little bit disappointed by how we went out last year in the first round.”

Silverman believes the combination of talent and camaraderie amongst the players is better than at any other point in his four-year varsity career.

“In past years, we’ve had either groups of guys that get along really well, but weren’t the best players, and then I think even last year, we had a very talented team but we weren’t that cohesive,” Silverman said. “I think this year, our strengths are really just how well we’re friends off the field and how that translates on the field and to winning games.”

Silverman and Arroyo hope that the team, which relied heavily on the defense at times last season, will have a more explosive offensive attack.

“With the addition of Victor, and we really didn’t lose any guys, I think it’s going to be a shift to a more balanced team between a great offense and great defense,” Silverman said.

Arroyo does not think the success of girls’ soccer, which was the 2009 Southern California Regional State Champion, or the success of the two other high-powered winter teams, boys’ and girls’ basketball, will add pressure to boys’ soccer.

“We kind of like that underdog, you know, under-the-radar kind of thing,” Arroyo said. “I think it’s great for us. We know that we have talent and we know that we can compete.”

Boys’ soccer will play its first scrimmage on Nov. 24.