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New coach heralds new era in Coyote soccer
denair boys soccer
Sergio Zavala of Denair fights for the ball with goalkeeper Alex De la Cruz during Wednesday’s practice (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Denair High is going through some changes when it comes to boys soccer. Last year was another losing season for the Coyotes, who were winless in league. Under new head coach Miguel Hernandez, however, the Coyotes are starting the season off right with two wins under their belt this season.

Hernandez is a Merced High alum and played with Merced United before taking the helm at Denair High.

He takes over a program that has never reached the playoffs. 

“I try to use that as motivation to be honest,” said Hernandez. “I come out here and remind them every practice and they will let you know. I ask if they want to end up like that again and they all say no.” 

Denair finished their last season with a 3-14-3 record. League play in the Southern League was even tougher for the Coyotes last year after they went winless at 0-12-2. 

“I am out here trying to help these guys get better and there is a lot of potential. I really want to try and see where it goes,” said Hernandez. “I am trying to build a culture, trying to change things around and they have embraced it. I have talked to them and I try and be more tactful with everything since I was a midfielder and I try and give them all the motivation I can, motivation is key for these guys.” 

Motivation will be key for a team that boasts 26 players on the varsity roster. 

The Coyotes are already on the right track, with a 2-1 record after their first three pre-league games played. During that span, they have outscored opponents, 11-6. 

This year’s Denair squad will rely heavily on senior captain Ramiro Diaz, who is expecting to join the Army next year. 

Alongside Diaz are standouts Sergio Zavala and goalkeeper Alex De la Cruz.

After three games played, Diaz has provided half a dozen assists while Zavala has notched eight goals.

“There is potential there, they just have to work in my system and be disciplined. They have been respectful and willing to learn and we work on our position a lot and where we want them to be and they have been coming out ready to learn,” Hernandez added. 

Denair’s next game will be on the road at Orestimba at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.