DOBSON — Surry Central soccer lost two household names, but returns a lot of depth.
The Golden Eagles said goodbye to seniors Jose Avalos and Uriel Secundino, who picked up multiple all-conference honors over their careers.
Still, the team could go 16 or even 17 players deep in its rotations, according to coach Blake Roth.
There is no one on the team who can replace Avalos and his speed — he ran a 4.6 in the 40.
Then Uriel was physically strong and an anchor at the center defender spot. He took the whole back line under his wing a year ago.
Despite that, this Eagle team has plenty of potential to be a well-rounded squad, Roth said.
There are two all-conference players back in Arturo Lopez and Justo Cristobal. Arturo played midfield last year, but could move up to forward at times.
One of the reasons Lopez could move around is the return of Adrian Gonzalez. Roth called Adrian a fundamentally sound player who played well as a sophomore, but wasn’t with the team last year.
Other returning players include Brayan Gomez, Josh Huson, Moises Pineda, Ramiro Gonzalez, Julio Sanchez, Rodrigo Lambaverde and Fernando Talavera.
Talavera played goalie for the team last season. He did a fantastic job, said Roth, but he is even better out in the field. So Roth has been auditioning others for the keeper spot.
Those getting a look are Jonathan DeSantiago, Ryan Gordon and freshman Andres Flores.
Roth said he doesn’t know where he’ll use Andres yet, but the coach has seen enough to know that the rookie is good enough to be on varsity in some capacity.
It’s rough to lose to staples of the team like Avalos and Uriel, but this team could be even better than last year, the coach believed. The depth is much improved, and the team will have good balance, so the defense can key on stopping one great player.
Forbush had a strong team and went deep into the playoffs last year. Central led Forbush until a penalty kick with about 30 seconds left allowed the Falcons to tie the match. Then at Forbush, the Eagles pressed too hard and lost 1-0.
The Falcons lost a lot to graduation, but they don’t rebuild; they reload, said Roth. Coach Seth Davis had an awesome JV team last year, so he won’t be hurting for players.
Roth said he and Seth are good friends, but they both really want to win their head-to-head matches.
With so much depth back, talent should be fine, but leadership must evolve to replace those seniors. It will take two or even three guys stepping up and getting the rest of the team in line.
In order to get his team ready for a playoff push, Roth scheduled several tough nonconference opponents like North Forsyth, Statesville, North Davidson and Salisbury (who might win 2A this year).
“We need to go against tough competition to see where we’re at,” he said.
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