It’s a new season, there’s a new head coach and a couple of new players, but The Dalles High Riverhawk boys soccer team is hoping that they will continue to be one of the top contenders in the OSAA Class 5A Intermountain Conference standings this year.
First-year Coach Jesus Granados will lead the 18-member Riverhawks squad this season along with assistant Matt Dallman, who was the Hawks head coach during the spring. 30 players turned out for the program, which is co-opting with Dufur High School.
“I’m pretty excited about this season and I’m glad to have Matt helping me as well,” said Granados, who was the Riverhawks’ girls soccer assistant coach during the spring season. “Luckily, our defensive line is pretty much the same group from the spring, which is awesome. I think that it’s going to be kind of a rebuilding year though for our team, since we have lots of young players.”
The Dalles began practice Aug. 16 in preparation for the 14-game season, which begins with a Sept. 2 nonleague home game at 4:30 p.m. versus the La Grande Tigers at the Wahtonka campus soccer field. The schedule consists of seven games at home and seven on the road. The Hawks play their first road game Sept. 9 against the Parkrose Broncos. The 10-game Intermountain Conference schedule begins Sept. 23 with a home match against the Crook County Cowboys.
The Dalles has two freshmen (Marcos Quiroz, Hulises Najera) and 10 sophomores and three juniors. Seniors who will be providing leadership include defenders Tristan Bass and Alex Wood along with center midfielder/left back Harry Proctor and center midfielder/ forward Miguel Leon. Sophomore Luciano Alvarado will also be a key member of the defense as the Riverhawks’ goalkeeper.
“I love the attitude that all our players have and they’re just a pretty awesome group and very coachable kids,” said Granados. “They just want to know what we need to do to improve. Hulises is going to be a great striker for us, and he’ll likely be one of the top goal scorers, so he’s definitely one of our best players for sure. Harry will also be able to contribute offensively for us, as well. Alex and Tristan are both really solid players who will be leaders for us on defense, too.”