SELMA — Ruben Zamora’s first year as head coach for the Selma boys soccer team came to end after a 4-1 loss to Edison High School in a quarterfinal playoff game at home on Feb. 15.
Selma entered the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Div. II playoffs as a No. 3 seed. Edison entered the postseason as a sixth-seeded and proved to be a tough out.
Within the first 10 minutes, the Bears were down after Edison was on the board first.
Jonathan Torres and Carlos Figueroa had missed opportunities to score for Selma in the first half.
Torres missed a wide open shot toward the left side of the net. The senior kicked the ball from 20 yards away while the Edison goalkeeper was not near the net. Figueroa had a similar opportunity near the end of first half, only this time his shot narrowly missed to the right.
Zamora commented on those missed opportunities that could’ve changed the outcome of the game.
“That was the whole difference of the game,” Zamora said. “I think our team had the upper hand for a while and we had the chances, but we just couldn’t put them in the net.”
Figueroa got another chance shortly after the second half started. In the 44th minute, the junior tied the game at 1-1 with a shot down the middle of the net.
Two minutes later, the momentum swung the other way with Edison regaining the lead with a 2-1 score. Selma couldn’t contain Edison for the rest of the game and allowed two more goals from Edison later in the second half.
Zamora said the team mentally couldn’t come together in the second half after they were outscored 3-0 in the second half.
“We get scored on, all our kids just put their head down,” Zamora said. “They feel like they lost the game. We faced this problem before but we haven’t faced it a lot because we were always one of the teams to score first and get the upper hand first.”
Zamora added that it’s difficult to mentally improve, but he proposed that a youth program similar to the city’s wrestling team could change that. He added that players could learn about different situations including being down late in the games. Zamora said a youth program would be “ideal” for kids in the area that are interested in playing soccer.
“A lot of the times we don’t have enough time with these kids,” Zamora said. “We don’t have enough to work with them because I think we don’t have a good set club yet in Selma, and I think that’s what we need to work on, to get soccer rolling again in Selma and build off of that. Once they come into high school, they already know what to do, they already know what they’re facing. It has to start from the community.”
Zamora added that the resources aren’t there to start a youth program and there’s a lack of quality soccer fields in the city. Those are things he wants to push forward in the future, but he said it will take time before a youth program and resources come in fruition.
As for the current players on the team, 13 members will be graduating including Torres, Joel Ramirez and Christian Lamas. All three were the team captains this year.
Zamora said several of the seniors will get a chance to continue their soccer careers at the junior college level next year, but most of them have not determined where they will play yet.
Figueroa is one of the notable players that will return next season. The junior was second on the team with 11 goals.
“That kid is a fighter, he works really hard,” Zamora said about Figueroa. “He wants it, he’s just needs a little help and I think we could get him there.”
Christian Marquez, Cesar Sanchez and Alan Salazar are other notable players that will return next year.
Zamora considers his first year as coach a successful one. He led Selma to an 18-6-3 overall record and went 9-1 in Central Sequoia League play. The Bears won the CSL title and earned a first round bye in the playoffs.
In his second year, Zamora is positive the team will be back in the playoffs next season.
“For next year, I think we’ll still be fine,” Zamora said. “I still think we could make another run at league, and I think we make another run at playoffs. If we gave it 100 percent this year, I think we could give it 110 percent next year.”