The 2013 Hilmar High boys’ soccer team is coming off an interesting yet successful year.
The Yellowjackets were able to ease their way into the postseason after placing third in the Trans Valley League with a 7-3-2 record but after grinding out a first round win over Le Grand, the ‘Jackets fell in the second round, ending their surprise season for head coach Louie Bettencourt.
“We won our first round game but played in a field that had potholes and lost 3-0 in the second game and we had the better team but didn’t get over the hump with no expectations really,” said Bettencourt. “We did very well compared to our expectations, the kids exceeded those for sure.”
Now in 2014, Bettencourt and his new squad look ahead into the future after saying goodbye to eight seniors from the previous season.
This time around the squad only has four seniors and quite possibly more freshman moving up to the varsity level than expected.
“There is quite a few freshmen, yet to be determined and at least three freshman on varsity roster. A lot of new faces,” said Bettencourt.
With so many new players on board the team will look to rely heavily on Cesar Aguilar and Jaime Munoz as well as Adrian Yepez, who has been playing on the San Jose Earthquakes academy squad.
“Cesar and Jaime are definitely the guys who will lead this team,” said Bettencourt. “The others are on the boat and Adrian has been a great foundation for us. I hope he changes his mind and comes out because he is thinking about not playing this season.”
With practice just getting started it is too early to tell what kind of team will take the pitch when the first game rolls around, but there is no doubt that Bettencourt knows exactly what to do in order to get the team on track.
“I feel we can do the same thing if I can get the kids to learn to play together and work hard and be committed,” Bettencourt said. “I feel we can go a long ways and I see it in them that they will learn how to play together and help each other.”
No matter how the year rolls around there is only one thing on Bettencourt’s mind.
“I hope the kids come together and hopefully we make the playoffs. That’s my goal every season to make the playoffs,” he said.
Offense is something that the ‘Jackets have struggled with at times and it should be another question mark for the 2014 squad.
“Up top strikers will need to get our finishes in. We will miss shots, but hopefully we can create chances and have our big guys finish somehow,” Bettencourt said.