Coming off one of its most successful seasons in recent years, the Lynnwood boys soccer team is retooling its lineup.
Six players are back from last year’s squad, which finished second in the Wesco 4A South with a 9-4-2 record. An influx of four freshmen, all of whom coach Ryan Camden expects to see significant playing time, are helping to fill some of the gaps.
“They’re bringing a high level of play,” Camden said. “Each one of those guys brings something different. They’re starting to fill the missing holes that we have. We look forward to building through them and around our returners. We’re mixing them together to get one cohesive unit that can play together. Once they gel it’s going to be really exciting.”
Camden is looking to junior defender Michael McFadden, senior midfielder William Lara and junior goalkeeper Gerardo Reyes-Ortega to provide leadership as co-captains.
The offense is led by sophomore Sorous Nasirpour-Alavian, a 6-foot-3 forward, who made major strides in his game during the offseason, according to Camden. Nasirpour-Alavain came off the bench last season.
“This year he wants to prove himself,” Camden said. “He wants to be that striker that everybody knows. He worked immensely in the offseason and earned the starting position. We’re using him up top and he is being targeted as the player we can go through and get the offense going.”
Joining Nasirpour-Alavian up front is freshman Dane Evanger.
Freshman Ryley Johnson is a solid addition in the midfield and has one of the best touches Camden has seen.
“He can control the ball and see the options,” Camden said. “He’s a very technical player. Center mids have to have one of the best touches. … We’re working him into our offense.”
Another playmaker is senior midfielder Marco Granado, who has was a key part of the offense last season.
“We’re looking to utilize him on the wings,” Camden said. “We want to use his speed. He knows the game. … He can send a perfect cross every time.”
Senior Victor Villasenor also is back in the midfield.
“He is one of the hardest working players on the field,” Camden said. “He’s an essential part of our midfield.”
McFadden is just as important for the defense.
“He is the heart of our defense,” Camden said.
Camden sees Lynnwood as a team built around its defense.
“Everything goes through the defense,” he said. “We are a program tell our players that we start with our defense. We want to perfect our defense. Our offense is good. But we are a defensive program first. Defense is going to win the games when we really need to.”
Senior Jonathan Mendoza and newcomer David Hurtado join McFadden in the defense. Junior Daniel Mathiason also is expected to see time at goalkeeper with Reyes-Ortega.
Camden knows it’s going to take some time for the newcomers and returners to become comfortable with one another.
“We know we have a lot of new faces,” he said. “We’re not looking to do too much too quickly. We’re focusing on perfecting one thing at a time. … Winning will take care of itself. If we can do it perfectly in practice, we’ll do it perfectly in games.”