The 2011 season was not a fun one for the Las Positas men’s soccer team. The season ended with a record of 3 wins, 15 losses and 2 draws is what they finished with.
The season was a disaster. However, the page must be turned and the Hawks men’s soccer team has to put its focus on the new season that is at its dawn.
When a team has a rough year, changes are inevitable. There are signs of change already as far as where the Hawks will play their home games this season.
The new home for the men’s soccer team will be up on the hill, at the track and field complex. Head coach Larry Aguiar feels this will be a benefit for the team.
“I like this field a lot better,” Aguiar said. “On here players can slide tackle, and the ball moves much better here than on the other field.”
One thing that will not change is the style of play that Aguiar teaches his players. He refers to it as “international soccer.” There is no specific formation with this style.
He believes this is better because it is a style that has been adopted by many national soccer teams, including the powerhouse Brazillian national team. It places an emphasis on team play and doesn’t really have any set positions.
“You’re not just a defensive player or an offensive player,” Aguiar said. “Everybody has the soccer skills to perform both physically and mentally on both sides of the ball while being able to play in a variety of formations.”
Felix Luna was the former LPC Hawks team captain from 2009-2010. He has since transferred and played as a member of the Dons soccer team at the University of San Francisco for the past two years. Even though LPC has not had a winning record in what seems like forever, Luna credits Aguiar’s coaching style for helping him improve as a player.
“There were just always guys who were doing their own thing out there instead of playing as a team,” Luna said. “If everyone had bought into what he was trying to teach the players, we probably would have made the playoffs.”
Setting high team goals is another way to get players to buy into the system. This year, Aguiar is setting the bar a little higher and hoping the team can step it up a notch. Some of the goals include having no season ending injuries and keeping academics up, but the big goal they are shooting is to get over 11 wins.
“Winning over 11 games will get us into the playoffs,” Aguiar said. “I believe our players can rise to the occasion and achieve that goal.”
The quest for 11 wins began on the new home field on September 6 against Modesto Junior College, but the result rlook like a copy and paste from last year’s scoreboard. The Hawks lost 4-1.
Aguiar believes one play was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led to the team’s undoing in the game.
“We had a kid get a red card in the 80th minute. Up until that point we had more shots on goal, better play, we were dominating the game,” Aguiar said. “Once we went down a man, the team felt defeated.”
The team didn’t seem to carry over that defeated sprit into their next game, as they were involved in a thriller on Sept. 8. They played Feather River College to a 4-4 tie and followed that game up with a scoreless draw on Sept.11 against Merritt College.
“Each game that has gone by, I see improvement but I still need to get everyone to buy into the team concept,” Aguiar said. “Once we get that straightened out, the wins will come.”
The 10 returning players will need to serve as mentors to the new players and lead by example said Aguiar. Sophomore midfielder Julio Gomez is one of those returning players charged with that task.
“I think it would definitely help if we could step up and be leaders for the first-year guys,” Gomez said. “We just need to all get on the same page.”
The Hawks are still searching for their first win and have one more non-conference game on Friday, Sept. 14 against Shasta College. The first conference match at the new field is on Sept. 21 against Hartnell College. With a current record of 0-1-2, the conference opener is sure to be a pivotal factor for the team.