Trojans rebuild after SMAC season
The Chase High School Trojans soccer team looks to repeat as champions of the Southern Mountain Athletic Conference (SMAC), but must develop new talent to replace key players that graduated.
Coming off their historic, 16-3-1 SMAC conference title season, the Trojans have some rebuilding to do after losing seniors Ansoni Jimenez (goalkeeper) and Jorge Mendoza (midfielder), who each committed to Laurel University.
“You can not replace that,” Trojans coach Greg Deshommes said. “You can’t find a player like that everyday. That is going to hurt us. We are going to miss them a lot.”
Filling in for Jiminez and Mendoza are sophomores Miguel Jimenez and Edgar Fabian, players that may not be as skilled as their college counterparts, but could develop as the season progresses.
“[Miguel Jimenez] is the guy who is going to replace Ansoni. He’s not on Ansoni’s level, but he’s going to do his best,” Deshommes said. “For Jorge, we have Edgar, who played very well as a freshman. He’s a sophomore and I’m expecting him to step up and fill those shoes, but I’m not going to look at it like that. I’m looking at development.”
Fabian and Miguel Jiminez are not the only players Deshommes must develop, the bulk of his roster are underclassmen. Of the 19 players on the Trojans 2014 roster, only four players are seniors – Ricky Chavez (fullback), Fernando Nieto (fullback), Omar Jimenez (midfielder) and Oscar Galvan (fullback).
“I’m looking at development. That is more important than winning. Winning is secondary to me,” Deshommes said. “Even though we want to win, if we can develop and play better than we did last year as a team – even if we do not win as many games as we did last year, I will be happy. We are on the right track as far as passing better, playing better and
SEE TROJANS/PAGE B10
Part of developing his young team involves tightening its passing game. Instead of favoring a fast-paced offense, which involves long but potentially dangerous passes, Deshommes has focused on his team having from six to eight passes before moving into position for a goal.
“Last year, it was only the second or third ball to get there. This year, we are not going to play like that,” he said. “We want to pass the ball eight times. That is why (during practice) I was screaming ‘switch,’ so we could find a weak side to keep possession.”
Developing communication is another point of emphasis for the Trojans. Throughout team drills players such as striker Preston Walker would call for the ball – not just for open shots on goal, but to open up potential passing lanes that lead to scoring opportunities. On defense, Miguel Jimenez would talk his defenders through how to better position themselves.
Miguel Jiminenz said he knows he has large shoes to fill, but feels he’s ready.
“Stepping into Ansoni’s shoes is kind of a big deal. I wanted to be goalie last year, but felt that was too early to start,” Miguel Jiminez said. “I’m not as worried as I was last year. As much as I want to stop every single shot, I know it’s not possible. But I want to try my hardest to get better.”