Analysis: Deer Valley and Antioch boys’ soccer season starts tonight

By Jesus Cano

Deer Valley Wolverines

Deer Valley is expected to be a top team again this season, as they have been for the past two seasons. The only problem is, they didn’t live up to their talent.

Main reason, coaching. Juan Tannus based his players playing time on discipline, which doesn’t it work out when you are trying to compete against star studded teams Freedom and Pittsburg. Some of the best players on the team rode the bench because Tannus didn’t like them.

I’ve been saying this for years. Deer Valley will see a fortune change when they got a new head coach.

Deer Valley acquired John Delaney, who has been part of the program for four years, to take over the helm. Now, Deer Valley has posted a record of 6-3-1 which is the best record in the BVAL heading into league play. Look at it however you want, the numbers don’t lie.

The Wolverines are a well-balanced team. Starting from the back, goalkeeper Matt Wilmes has the make saves in the league with 65. The defense consisting of Esteban Sandoval,Ryan Eng and Christopher Hackney has come up clutch like a third pedal. In Deer Valley’s six wins, they haven’t allowed more than one goal.

In the midfield, they have another group of players that manage the ball really well in Armando Fajardo and Diego Ruiz. They also have Rudy Saucedo, who is the best player in the BVAL, controlling the midfield.

Isaiah Moreira and Edgard Morazan have been able to finish the ball a lot in season, both scoring a total of nine combined goals.

The tools are there for the Wolverines. If they play the way they have in non-league action, they will win league. But if they get scored on when facing top dogs like Freedom and Pittsburg, they are going to float around the third and fourth place area.

Antioch Panthers

Before Pittsburg won its seven straight BVAL titles, Antioch was on a run of its own, winning two in a row. Even up until 2013, the Panthers had a strong program, but that was it. They’ve been only winning about two or three games a season.

The same is expected this season. They come into the league with a 2-7-2 record.

The biggest challenge they face is the fact the Antioch High School area has a majority of low-income families. It correlates with the fact many of those students do not possess sufficient funds to play club soccer, which is why they’ve struggled so much.

Lucky for them, the head coach Conrad Diaz is a club coach at Delta Youth Soccer. When took over the program midway through last season, the Panther’s improved. They did not finish last in the table, while not losing the Antioch Mayor’s Cup game.

That doesn’t change the fact Antioch has talented players. Keys to the team are Josue Lopez and Liam Gammond. Lopez got hot in scoring when it came to BVAL play and came in fourth place in scoring, while Gammond can also score too, but works well in the midfield to distribute the ball.

A new comer that is going to make an impact is goalkeeper Melvin Morales. He and many of his teammates gave him the nickname “Spider-Man”, and he earns it. He saves Antioch a lot and can fly to make big time stop.

Also look for Ian Scheringer to step up. He has four goals in his young career.

Deer Valley faces the Liberty Lions in their season opener tonight, while Antioch will take on the Heritage High Patriots.

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