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Pride soccer turning corner towards 2015 season
Soccer hopefuls participate in tryouts for the Pride Thursday afternoon at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Pitman High had a fairly successful season last year, finishing third in the Central California Conference with a 6-5-4 record and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Sac Joaquin Section Division I Boys Soccer Playoffs.

The performance has the Pride eager for the beginning of the 2015 season as they aim for their second CCC title in the past three years. With seven players gone from last year’s roster, however, this season’s quest will hinge on Pitman’s ability to meld experience with youth on the pitch.

“I expect to make playoffs, but our main concern is developing players and helping them move to the next level,” Head Coach Oscar Mercado said.

The Pride are currently wrapping up their first stage of development with the last tryout practice today where new contributors will join returners on the finalized roster. Though it’s still early to pick out the faces that will impact the Pride this season, there are a trio of returners that are expected to be the team’s leaders.

The most experienced of the bunch is unquestionably senior goalie Jesus Nunez who played 11 games for Pitman last season. Jonathan and Miguel Galdamez also return with significant experience with a respective nine and seven games played last year. Jonathan, who enters his junior year, finished second in goals on the team last year with six.

“We have a few returners that should be leaders out there,” Mercado said. “It’s a good mix of experience and youth.”

Monday will mark the first practice with the official Pitman squad and the team’s first form of competition will take place at the Pitman Varsity Tournament on Aug. 28. The beginning of CCC play will start on Sept. 15 with a home game against Golden Valley High.

“It’s a super competitive league. Every year it’s up for grabs,” Mercado said. “Last year we made it to quarters and the two other teams made it to semis, so it’s up for grabs as I see it. You never know what to expect.”