The girls soccer season has just started. The Surprise Independent asked the local coaches for their outlook on the season.
4A Black Canyon Region
2021-22 Record: 8-4 overall, 3-2 region
Coach: Fernando Urbina (first year as Dysart head coach)
Top Returnees: F Kiara Sanchez, Sr. 5-2 (9 goals, 3 assists), GK Alanna Zepeda, Sr.
How many years have you coached soccer? I have coached soccer for 7.5 years now. This is my first year at Dysart.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team’s best attribute is our ability to learn new styles of play fast and our commitment to each other as a team.
What will your team need to improve for this season to be a success? Our team chemistry will need to improve over time in order for us to have success throughout the entire season, however, I believe we are off to a good start.
Who are your team leaders? We haven’t selected official captains yet, but some notable leaders are Alanna Zepeda, Lesli Arredondo Matehuala, and Danielle Lemoine.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Newcomers that can make the biggest impact include Yasmeen Wunderlich, Yesenia Montoya, and Abigail Franco.
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Paradise Honors and Flagstaff
3A Central Region
2021-22 Record: 4-6 (in fall 2021 season)
Coach: Jordan Scott (second season as Highland Prep coach)
Top Returnees: F Cambria Yaeggi, Soph., (5 goals); MF Alexia Rodriguez, Sr., (3 goals, 2 assists).
How many years have you coached soccer? this is my sixth season coaching womens soccer, and my second at Highland Prep.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Going into the season our biggest attribute is that we are young and full of energy. Highland Prep graduated six seniors last year so we have a great deal of new faces. The infusion of new freshmen and sophomores has brought a different level of excitement and energy to our practices.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our biggest failing last season was COVID. There was a 2-3 week stretch where we were without 4-6 starters due to quarantine or return to play. We never really got to gel as a program until the end of the season. We closed strong winning three of our last four.
Who are your team leaders? Our team will be led offensively by our leading scorer Cambria Yaeggi. I expect Cambria to increase her scoring total from last season. Our midfield will be led by captain Alexia Rodriguez. She has a no quit attitude and maybe the most intense player on the field I have ever coached. We will be led defensively by captain Sister Nkol. Sister was expecting big things last season but was in and out due to injury.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We have several new contributors that will help us right away. Goalkeeper Quinn Anderson, and midfielders Nadja Cruz and Alexis Rodda will be huge assets in what should be a much improved team from last season.
6A West Valley Region
2021-22 Record: 11-6-3 overall, 4-0-1 region (Reached 6A play-in)
Coach: John Gray (13th year as SRHS coach)
Top Returnees: F Mia Loher, Jr., (15 goals, 9 assists); MF Kayleen Laramee, Sr., (11 goals, 4 assists).
How many years have you coached soccer? 16 years, 13 at Shadow Ridge
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Speed
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Patience and ball control are the two most important things we need to focus on.
Who are your team leaders? Seniors: Olivia Arratia-Rivera, Mikayla James, Rylee Kunker, Emmalee Landers, Kayleen Laramee and Rachel Theis. Juniors: Sophia Cook, Mia Loher and Jill Young.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Sophomore midfielder Andrea Bolanos Rivera will make a big impact for us along with junior goalkeeper Katelyn Baker and freshman goalkeeper Ellie Fantasia. Junior defenders Sophia Girone and Lily Seashols will need to step up to help fill in some defensive gaps left from last year’s seniors.
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? The following games will all be tough for us: Desert Ridge, Red Mountain, Ciobla, Liberty, Sandra Day O’Connor and Maricopa.
5A Northwest Region
2021-22 Record: 10-11 overall, 4-1 region (5A play-in round)
Coach: Kendra Melbye (17th year as Willow Canyon head coach)
How many years have you coached boys soccer? I have been coaching soccer for 18 years, 17 at Willow Canyon.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Strong senior players and leaders.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our bench is very young. First touch, pressure and support.
Who are your team leaders? Grace Brown, Isabella Pineda, katelyn Nylen, Kendyl Lopez, Peyton McCabe, Olivia O’Neal-Kervick and Lianna Barrios.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Elli Gerber and Annie Holub.
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? We play some really great teams this year — Casteel, Millennium, Sunrise Mountain, Centennial and more.