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20110121_Soccer_Boys_SHSvsRoma_DY_162010 was a memorable season for Sharyland soccer. The Rattlers took the District 30-5A title and proceeded to make a remarkably strong run in the tournament, proceeding to the Regional Semifinals before getting knocked out in a shootout versus San Antonio Clark.

Inevitably such a run is hard to follow up the following year. Yet for head coach Rev Hernandez his team should never be counted out because his boys possess hard work and unity.

“I fell pretty good [about this season],” the coach explains. “We have a very united team. Everybody is pulling together. We are a hard working group. When you have [that] what else can you ask for?”

The unity will be needed as the group lost such stars as 2009 30-5A MVP Gerardo Garza, defenders Rene Pena and Scottie Meyer, forward Roberto Meza and goalkeepers Adrian de Luna and Gabriel Aguirre.

However, there is plenty to love about this year's Rattlers. Valley MVP Alejandro De la Garza returns to be a force at the midfield. In addition, there are plenty of players starting this year who were significant contributors from the bench last year.

“We had a lot of starters that graduated last year but the bulk of the bench [is here]. They are the ones stepping up.”

Not to forget, of course, is this is Sharyland Soccer. In his 13th season, Hernandez has built a powerhouse that is one of the top in the Valley. The reason, the coach says, is a big roster with everyone playing their best to not lose their position or, if not satisfied with their current state, to work hard to move up to be a starter.

“Everybody wants to do their best,” Hernandez points out. “That is the key for the program.”

In addition, all of the players compete in the year round class Hernandez teaches which creates unity among the boys. On top of that most of the team competes outside of the class in some sort of team, whether it be club or something else.

So far, it seems the unity and off-season work has paid off for Shary. The team is currently 7-2 with both losses coming at the hands at the Valley's current top team Brownsville Porter. Each of the two teams' games were close, the last one ending in a shootout.

Games against top teams like Porter as well as this weekend's Brenham Varsity Select Cup which pits Sharyland against some of the top teams from the rest of Texas, will only help. Playing against these other teams allows Sharyland to see the style of play, which will be brought to the state tournament in March.

Of course getting to the state tournament is not determined by this weekend's games but district play. Judging by history and what he has seen so far, Hernandez feels 30-5A will be difficult. Donna, Palmview, Rowe and Mission are all teams to watch out for.

For the first part of the year, the Rattler itinerary is stacked against them. The Rattlers get Donna and Palmview early and then face a four game road trip against the likes of Mission, Memorial, La Joya and McHi. If they can survive the trip in decent shape, then the last half of the regular season will allow Shary to enjoy four home games in six match-ups.

District starts February 1 at Nikki Rowe.

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