The Palo Alto High School boys’ soccer team (0-0, 0-0) is focusing on living up to the success of its most recent season, despite major losses in its starting lineup.
According to head coach Donald Briggs, losing center midfielder Wesley Woo, midfielder Preston Kuppe and goalkeeper Alex Bonomi will affect team play.
“Both Woo and Kuppe were key players, were very competitive and played in the middle,” Briggs said. “Bonomi was one of the two best keepers in the league. They will be difficult to replace. We will have to see how this years’ seniors and juniors can step in and play near last year’s high levels.”
Despite these losses, the players remain hopeful and hardworking going into this season. According to senior midfielder Siddharth Srinivasan, the team is well rounded in player skill, which will help with keeping play at a high level throughout the season.
“We are not reliant on one or two players and have good depth in every position, which is important if we want to be consistent in the long-run,” Srinivasan said.
The team’s league-winning past is something it is looking to repeat and build on, according to senior goalkeeper Eli Friedlander.
“We have a strong group, and I think we have a good shot at winning [De Anza] league again,” Friedlander said. “Hopefully we will go deeper into CCS [Central Coast Section]. I expect that we will be competitive in every game we play.”
According to Briggs, the team’s formation is still developing, and players may be switched around to accommodate and improve connections.
“We are putting emphasis on modified medium-sized scrimmages to see where players fit in best defensively and offensively,” Briggs said.
Playing a fast-paced possession style game will be a challenge for the team this year, according to junior center midfielder Jack Stoksik.
“We need to work on our sharpness in passing and moving,” Stoksik said. “We are often too slow to react to a good pass or to know when to break the line.”
The team’s long history and familiarity with each other’s playing styles will benefit the team as a whole, according to senior midfielder Dami Bolarinwa.
“We are a team full of chemistry,” Bolarinwa said. “We have players that have been playing together for a long time and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
The Vikings are set to kick off their first regular season game at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Paly soccer field against the Milpitas Trojans (0-0, 0-0).