If there is one thing that has changed in the last year, it is that the Burbank High boys’ soccer team has closed the gap on Burroughs, which has had the upper hand for most of the past three decades.
Burroughs has lost a lot to graduation, but is stronger than most might think.
Both figure to provide an entertaining season.
The Bulldogs made the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the first time since 2001 last spring.
Captain Abraham Rivera will play a key role in the midfield, along with Freddy Cardenas, who was the kicker on the football team.
George Atallah, Rigoberto Garcia, Erik Gharibian, Monte Ter Galstaian, Gabriel Amour, David Agababian and Davit Stepanyon will fill out the rest of the midfield.
In goal, Burbank will have Hayk Tovmasyan and Erik Antanesyan battling for the starting gloves.
On the defensive line, Burbank will rely on Andrew and Allan Rodriguez, along with Alfost Khanlatyan, Elia Amour, Edi Hakopian, Derek Der Zakharian, Leon Iranosian and Gael Fuente.
Up front, Burbank is solid with experienced veterans Narek Chobanyan and Gabriel Mier returning. Both played a key role in Burbank’s season-ending victory over Burroughs last spring.
Giancarlos Vitery and Andre Zargaryan will offer added depth up front.
“I’m very confident about the team going forward. They are all young, hungry and enthusiastic,” second-year coach Raz Adoti said. “We have some good momentum from last year. I feel we are stronger than last year, not just technically, but conditioning and our attitude. I think we are more together this year.”
The Bears have lost a lot of key players to graduation include Manny Gonzalez, the program’s all-time leading goal scorer, as well as Elias Galaviz, the team’s leading scorer last season.
Burroughs has shown it is better than some might expect as it performed well in a scrimmage with Notre Dame recently.
With just five seniors, junior Daniel Proano takes over as the playmaker in front of the defense to get things started offensively. Captain Jaden Vasquez and Andrew Rodas also will occupy roles in the midfield.
Junior Manny Hooshivar will generally be found in the attacking midfield role.
On the defensive line, senior Zach Levy leads the way. Freshman Danny Pascual, the younger brother of former Burroughs left back Manny Pascual, will be pressed into duty next to Levy.
Alexander Leanos will take over the right back role and Cameron Sinkowski can generally be found on the left side.
Up front, Burroughs has senior Landon Espinoza on the left wing. Freshman Alexander Loera will be seen on the right wing.
Sophomore Dominic Quijada will be the main target as the center forward. “We did set small goals for ourselves. What we told our team is that we want to be competitive,” second-year coach Michael Solano said. “If we can make it to the playoffs and get past our first playoff game, that is another goal we have. The primary goal is to be competitive and compete for league. We know we have the ability, but there are a lot of good teams in our league.”
Senior Michael Shaw, juniors Keaton Wells and Hector Fuentes, sophomore Michael Vega and freshman Adrian Aguilar will fill in the gaps.