Hard to imagine a tougher act to follow than last season’s Viking boys soccer team that: went 29-0-1. They conceded 17 goals all season while scoring 110, and won the first ever CIF Southern Regional Championship (all soccer teams south of Fresno).Finally, they went on to achieve an astounding Number Two national ranking, besting thousands of other high schools nationwide.
So how does the new season look? After the first week of battle, the boys continue undefeated, beating St. John Bosco, Long Beach Carbillo, and Palisades. The Vikings scored seven goals and yielded only one. Counting last season, the team’s unbeaten streak is now at 32.
The remarkable steak continues despite many changes. A total of 13 seniors were lost to graduation–at least two have gone on to play intercollegiate soccer -– Charlie Paris at Yale and Artur Jazkowics at LMU. Last year’s coach, James Chapman, moved on to attend graduate school, and former Samohi Soccer Director Frank Gatell is now the women’s coach at West LA Community College.
Taking over the Viking helm is Samohi Soccer Director Serafin Rodriguez, a long-time coach and league organizer for both youth and adult soccer in Santa Monica. Rodriguez has coached the Samohi girls varsity for the previous five years, and his Viking squads have made the playoffs each of those seasons. Their best run was last March, when the Viking girls reached the semi-finals, only to lose in a shoot out.
Regarding the current boys team, it is early in the season, but already two stand-out players merit special mention. Christian Marcial has scored five of Samohi’s seven goals so far, and done so from the unlikely position of defensive mid-fielder. Another scorer is Richard Martinez, a standout who made the starting lineup as a freshman. Additional starters who saw extensive action on last year’s team include Ricardo Martinez and Tyler Horton. Matt Bell, Jake Leal, Geraldo Romero, John McQueeny, Zach Johnston, Ian Michael, and keeper Michael Freedman complete the starting lineup for the Vikings.