Men’s soccer looks to regroup

[/media-credit] Men’s soccer is getting ready to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season.

A new year means new beginnings, not only for students and faculty but also for the athletics department. And this year the men’s soccer team is looking forward to a chance to start new.

In the fall 2011 season, the Fighting Owls finished 5-11-5 overall, with a 3-8-3 record in Western State Conference play. The poor showing did not sit well with head coach Fred Bruce-Oliver, who said that the team has usually done exceptionally well, with more than just a few good years.

Bruce-Oliver came to Citrus in 1997 as head coach and also coaches over at nearby Claremont High School. The CHS Wolfpack won its second CIF championship under Bruce-Oliver’s reign in 2011.

With this in mind, his basic expectation for the year is for the team to be competitive. “The other goal is not only to compete but to win the league,” Bruce-Oliver said. “That’s always a goal.”

Team captains Danny Valdez and Omar Nunez are also focused on winning. As returning sophomores, they understand how important it is to win this season in their last year of eligibility. “We are definitely motivated to win more games this year,” Valdez said.

With the toughest competitors likely to be Santa Barbara and Oxnard, Valdez and Nunez know they have their work cut out for them. However, they say the team has the potential to fulfill their goals.

“The base of our team is mostly returners, so I think that’s really going to help us out since we already have the experience of playing one year together,” said Valdez. He mentioned that some freshmen players have surprised both captains with what they can bring to the field.

“And we know each other a lot better than we did last year, so we have a better chemistry when we play together,” Nunez said.

As the team prepares for a successful season, everyone expresses a positive attitude.

“We have really high expectations,” Valdez said. “We are here to win.”

As of press time, the Clarion has not received the results of the Owls’ Aug. 28 game against the San Bernardino Valley Wolverines.

The Owls’ next game is against the Cuyamaca Coyotes Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.