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It wasn't an easy way to start the season off for the Mission boys soccer team. Due to players being ineligible, the team struggled at the Brownsville Tournament two weeks ago. However, the team responded well last weekend when they took third at the tournament in McAllen. Due to that, head coach Christos Barouhas is feeling better about his team's performance.
Adding to the confidence is the ineligible players should be back before district starts next week.
The Eagles will need all they can get to compete in 32-5A. Though young, Barouhas feels his squad is ready to compete for second place after Sharyland.
“Sharyland is gonna give everyone a big headache,” admits the head coach.”After that I think the rest of us are going to fight for that second spot.”
Defense will be a key for the team and Barouhas has a lot of confidence in his goalie Erasmo Vasquez, saying the keeper has “a lot of potential and every game he plays better and better. I think he will be one of the best players in the Valley [by the end of the year].”
Good play from the keeper will help the young team come around. Starting only three seniors, the Eagles are looking to players like Vasquez as well as captain and forward Rolando Garcia.
“[Rolando] is a good leader. He is the coach on the field and understands the game very well.”
Plus, adds the coach, he scores goals. No small thing.
Though the team possesses a mediocre 4-4-2 record, a good defense and strong leadership is a good start to build on last year's appearance in Sectionals. Barouhas is also quick to point out that much of the team's losses so far came in the Brownsville Tournament when the team was not a full roster. Further, the coach says, “District games are always different. Tournament games don't show the whole picture.”
After this weekend's encounter at the La Joya Tournament, Mission will open up at Palmview, a tough first game draw. However, in a district where Barouhas hasn't “seen any weak teams,” each Tuesday and Friday will be a grind. Memorial, McHi follow the match-up with the Lobos, followed by a showdown with Sharyland on February 11.
However, if the young team can grow up quickly and continue to have superb goal keeping and defense as well as the return of ineligible players, Mission may see the season ending better than it started.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.