Rams soccer team counting on seniors
Last updated 3/6/2021 at 5:02pm
PORTALES — Ruben Tellez says this spring’s Portales High boys soccer team will be a combination of veterans and young players, although the Rams will be counting heavily on their seniors.
Tellez has moved to the boys program after coaching the Lady Rams for the past four years. Both teams are looking to get things turned in the right direction after struggling during the 2019 fall campaign.
“We have a lot of young players, but we’re going to be senior-loaded,” Tellez said. “Possibly, 10 of the 11 starters will be seniors.”
The PHS boys open the season on Tuesday at Ruidoso, then host Clovis two nights later in their only non-district matches of the season. Meantime, all six of the girls’ contests are in District 4-4A, beginning with a home outing against Artesia on March 16.
Bonnie Britton, who served as an assistant for the girls under Tellez in 2019, has taken over the lead role.
“I’m just excited we’re going to get to play and have a season,” she said. “We’re looking forward to making the most of the six games we get to play.”
Both PHS squads struggled during the fall of 2019 and are anxious to try to bounce back.
The top eight players for the Rams are seniors, including forwards Josiah Tellez (the coach’s son) and Diego Valenzuela, defenders Derek Beldon and Miguel Hernandez and midfielders Javier Munoz, Lionel Chavez, Max Cordova and Josh Haman. Also back is senior forward Kevin Ivarbol, who missed most of the 2019 campaign due to a broken leg.
“The boys are excited,” coach Tellez said. “We haven’t played in a while and it’s been a roller-coaster (trying to prepare for the season), but the kids are ready.”
Tellez expects the district, which also includes Artesia, Lovington and Roswell Goddard, to be formidable.
“I think we’ll match up pretty good,” he said. “The key is staying healthy and working as a team.”
The Lady Rams, who won’t field a junior varsity this season, hope to get the most of out of a roster than should include 17-20 players.
“We want the opportunity to be able to pull together as a team,” Britton said. “My focus has been on the challenge of the season.”
Top returnees from 2019 include senior midfielders Emmily Armendarez and Daniela Exiga, and junior defender Kassidy Galassinni.
Former Eastern New Mexico University soccer player Samantha Fabela has joined the program as Britton’s assistant coach.
Britton said she’s looking for a breakthrough from her squad in district play.
“I’m pretty pleased and hopeful that we’ll do good,” Britton said.