By Bontã Hill
The goal is simple – state championship or bust. That is the motto of the men’s soccer team at City College.
If you don’t believe it, just ask Head Coach Adam Lucarelli. “Our goal is to make the state final four,” said Lucarelli, when referring to the postseason soccer tournament. “If we don’t win state, this season would have been a failure.”
That’s the way many of the sophomore players feel about last year, even though the Rams finished with a record of 15-2-5, including an undefeated conference record of 12-0-4. The Rams’ dream season ended early with a disappointing loss to their conference rival Hartnell College 2-1 in the second round of the state tournament.
Rams midfielder and team captain Alejandro Uriba is one of the key players of this season. He is looking to shoulder the loss of All-American forward Stephen Curry, who has moved on to San Jose State University.
Uriba is already off to a good start after playing an important role in the Rams’ victory at the Hartnell College tournament, where he was also awarded the most valuable player award.
“One of the top three players I have ever coached,” says Lucarelli of Uriba. “ Everything we ask of him, he does.”
Uriba, who has been training with his teammates since January 2008, believes his team cannot only get to the state championship, but win it all. He admits, his team needs to focus more before they can even think about championships.
“We must start practicing harder, practicing like were playing a game,” Uriba said. “We have more talent than last year, but we must stay focused.”
Another key player to the Rams’ season is freshman goalkeeper Rene Martinez. He has already made his presence felt by only allowing two goals during the tournament at Hartnell College.
“Coming in my expectations were to just work hard, have fun, and come together as a team,” says Martinez, who agrees with Lucarelli’s goal on the season. “It’s state or bust, no doubt.”
The issues Lucarelli and his coaching staff have been stressing to the team the most this season are teamwork and keeping a positive spirit with one another.
“So far we have been blending very well together,” said Lucarelli. We have shown in the first four games of the season we can play against top notch competition and have success.”
The Rams are eager to build up from last year’s success and keep the intensity of training and play at a high level. The bar has been set high, yet Uriba does not feel any added pressure as he is leading his team into the league.
“Were going to do fine,” Uriba said, smiling. “We will get to where we want to go.”
State championship or bust, you get the point. Those are words the Rams’ 2008 squad will take with them all season long.
Support the Rams in their game against Santa Rosa Junior College this coming Friday, September 12, in Santa Rosa at 4 p.m. (191)