East soccer prepares for upcoming season
Jan. 2, 2012 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 1, 2012 at 7:02 p.m.
It is the popular thing in soccer these days, possess the ball like Barcelona, wait for your chance and ruthlessly take it.
This is the approach the Victoria East boys' team will take once the 2012 season kicks off.
It is not easy to implement, but longtime coach Tim Eaton is confident his team will be able to pull off this possession-heavy approach to the game.
"Its something they have learned as they have gone on," Eaton said. "Their understanding of the game, they have worked on it through the years. This group has worked extremely hard since the end of last season."
The 2012 Titans also have a lot to learn after losing a handful of players from a team that went 15-5-1 in 2011 and finished second in District 59-4A.
Attacking threats Ben Bernard, Colton Siler and Mauricio Torres graduated, meaning the scoring load will fall to forwards Juan Chavarria, Pablo Aviles, and Marco Segura, who will lead the line.
Like the reigning Spanish, European and world club champions, East is not solely devoted to one formation. As comfortable as they are in a 4-3-3 system, they can switch to just two forwards, or a system providing flexibility for midfielders Casey Brown and Joel Gonzales.
Regardless of how the outfield players are deployed, expect senior Cole Fimbel to be in the midst of everything. The midfielder will likely be the link between defense and attack through his dribbling or distribution.
Though Fimbel played football for East this year, he also played with a local club soccer team, allowing him to spend between 30 minutes and an hour each day getting touches.
Fimbel, one of the Titan captains, said the team's goals were simple: Win the district championship, advance as far as possible in the playoffs and give "150 percent every game."
Newcomers like Segura, Chavarria, defender Eric Mansker and the rest of the team will have an early litmus test when they begin the season against Flour Bluff. It is the same Flour Bluff team that humbled East 5-1 in the sectional round of the playoffs last year.
"It's going to have its pros and cons," Fimbel said of the season opener. "Hopefully, we can go out and give them their first loss of the season. The con is that we know what they have and they know what we have, so they can go out and strike."
Nevertheless, Fimbel and Eaton have progressed through the preseason.
The captain likes how his teammates have bonded and learned to move on and off the ball. Meanwhile, the coach noticed that this year's team has not let the graduation of experienced goal scorers - the third ingredient in Barcelona's fluid approach to the game - hinder their preparation.
"(I like) the positive outlook of this group and their willingness to work together," Eaton said. "How they face adversity has made it fun to work with them."