SELMA - Coming off a heartbreaking playoff loss last year to Sunnyside High School, Selma boys soccer head coach Ruben Zamora said it all came down to preparation, which is something he wants to see improvement on during the 2018-19 season.
“The way we played that game, I think it came down to practice,” Zamora said. “We’re working on changing that habit of putting in more work and putting in a higher effort into the game. We were the better team, we were getting more chances, but it’s just the way it is. They took advantage of the opportunities and we didn’t.”
For captains Fabian Colin and Carlos Figueroa, they still think about that playoff loss.
“I think our problem was we went in there a little too confident knowing we had a good season,” Figueroa said. “We still think about it today, we still want to get our revenge on what we loss and missed out on.”
“It definitely still stings, I think about it before every game,” Colin said. “We came in way too confident, we didn’t try hard enough the practice before, so now we just have to try harder in practice.”
For Zamora, it was an offseason of reflection and finding ways for him to improve as a coach.
Two things that Zamora said he learned this offseason was to have patience and improving on preparation for games.
“We’re going to start rebuilding a little, but it shouldn’t be too bad,” Zamora said. “We only had two weeks from tryouts to figure our teams and to prepare for our first game, so it’s going to take a lot of patience. Maybe another week or two until we all click together and we should be fine.”
Last season, Selma went 18-6-3 overall and 9-1 in Central Sequoia League play enroute to earning a No. 3 seed in the CIF Central Section Division II playoffs. The Bears’ 9-1 record was good for a CSL title. The team’s playoff loss to Sunnyside last season was a 4-1 result against the No. 6 seeded team.
So far this season, Selma started 6-3-2 before the Bears started Central Sequoia League against Central Valley Christian on Tuesday.
If Selma wants win back-to-back league titles with another playoff berth, the Bears will have to do so with some key losses and playing its home games at Washington Union High School.
Selma is playing its home games at John Ventura Stadium at Washington Union due to the construction and renovation of Staley Stadium at Selma High.
Zamora said Washington Union is a “great” facility to use as a temporary home venue.
“We’re happy to use it,” Zamora said. “It’s not too far from here, so it’s not too bad for us. We’re used to their field. They use natural grass like we use here. I like the facility and it’s going to be our home away from home.”
Figueroa and Colin are some of the notable returners from last year’s team that also include Cesar Sanchez and Jean Paul Santos.
Notable newcomers that Zamora expects to make an impact include freshman Pedro Rangel, junior Edward Carranza, and junior Bryan Juarez, who is a transfer from Washington Union.
Figueroa said majority of the team is familiar with each other’s style of play, which could come a long way for the Bears.
“We’ve known each other since we were kids,” Figueroa said. “Not exactly playing on the same team, but we know how we play, we have that chemistry….I expect to win a Valley ring with this team.”
Selma will continue CSL play at Dinuba on Dec. 17. After, league play for Selma will pick up again at Washington Union when the Bears go up against CSL-newcomer Hanford West on Jan. 4, 2019.