By Stephanie Guevara
With new changes and new rivals in their conference, the East Los Angeles College men’s soccer team prepares to for the upcoming season.
ELAC is currently in the South Coast Conference, which has recently undergone changes this season. Instead of having eight teams, the conference will have 10 teams as Rio Hondo College and Chaffey College were added to the conference.
Head coach Eddie Flores said the conference got more competitive, but ELAC should play better because they have a good amount of returning players.
“Last year, we only had three returning players. This time, we have a lot of returning players, which sets a good foundation in the team. That should be a strong point for us. My goal is to take the team to the playoffs this season,” Flores said.
In the previous season, ELAC fell short from a spot in the playoffs, staying in fourth place of the South Coast Conference. ELAC ended their season 9-6-6.
Assistant coach Ricardo Raygoza also said the team should be in good shape this time around.
“We haven’t had a good amount of returners in a couple of years. Some players got injured last season (and) will have (to) return this season, which is a good thing for us,” Raygoza said.
Coaches are working on recruiting new players for the season, but said they won’t need to recruit as much.
“Since we are getting the majority of our players,we don’t need to do as much recruiting. We do have a kid from Chile who is very good in the midfield. He will really help us in the season,” Flores said.
Raygoza said the team needs to seek goalkeepers because that is the only position they don’t have a returning player.
Returning player and international student from Colombia, Alvaro Torres, said the team needs to work on scoring because last season they had difficulty making goals.
“Last season we had a problem of not finishing. We played good, but we wouldn’t score as much. We also need to work on staying focused and make soccer our priority in order to win,” Torres said.
Raygoza also said the team needs a key forward who can be effective when scoring.
“For this season, we are looking for a forward who can score. It is a key thing to have a guy who has the vision to score, which is what we need this year,” Raygoza said.
Torres also said he now knows that the team should give a good performance in the preseason in order to get a spot in playoffs.
“I know that preseason is important and we have to make it count. We need to make sure we get the points we need, but our conference also needs to do good,” Torres said.
ELAC will start their preseason against Southwestern College on August 28.