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Rifle soccer looks to take next step

Rifle goalkeeper Alexis Lopez Jiminez dives for a loose ball last season against Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Head Coach: David Romero, fourth year

Last Season: 5-10, 4-8 in 4A Western Slope League

Key Returners: Paul Cerros, Sr.; Luis Molina, Jr.; Adalberto Dominguez, Sr.; Andres Guerrero, Sr.

Players to Watch: none provided

Following back-to-back 5-10 seasons, including 4-8 marks in the 4A Western Slope League under third-year head coach David Romero, the Rifle Bears boys soccer team wants to take the next step this fall entering the fourth year in Romero’s system.

With 10 seniors and eight juniors back, that next step forward looks like a good possibility for Romero and Bears, should Rifle establish some growth at the varsity level.

“I’m really hoping we’ll see some maturity this year,” Romero said prior to the start of the school year. “I’m really thinking this year we’re looking for that maturity over everything else. Hopefully by now they’ve got what it takes from playing junior varsity soccer and can make a difference in the varsity program.”

Senior captains Paul Cerros and Andres Guerrero return to provide leadership under Romero as the Bears look to replace five seniors who provided quite a bit of production at both ends of the field. Cerros scored seven goals and added five assists last season and will likely take on a bigger role offensively for the Bears. Guerrero, senior Adalberto Dominguez and junior Luis Molina give Rifle an experienced back line to turn away opposing attacks in front of veteran goalkeeper Alexis Lopez Jimenez.

With a deep, talented, experienced back line and goalkeeper, the Bears should have no problem slowing down opposing attacks.

Offensively, it might be another story for Rifle if teams prepare to take away Cerros early on in the season. Romero needs other offensive help to step up, but in the end leadership is the biggest thing for the veteran head coach.

“We’ve been searching for leadership for quite some time,” he said. “We’re excited to work with upperclassmen. We really haven’t had this many seniors on the roster. Typically, you don’t see this at Rifle, at least we haven’t in a long time. You see it elsewhere, but it will be nice to see that here; it will be really nice to be experienced.”

With a maturing program and a number of experienced players on the roster, Rifle could turn heads in 4A this fall with hopes of improving on a 4-8 mark in league play.

Rifle opens the season Sept. 5 at Eagle Valley.

jcarney@postindependent.com


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