In the 38 seasons that Rod Petkovic has been coaching the Millikan boys’ soccer team, few Moore League programs have shown more consistency. Under Petkovic, the program’s first and only soccer coach to date, the Rams haven’t lost the league title in back-to-back years since 2004-5, and that was the first time they’d lost it twice in a row since 1990-91.
This year, the Rams will have a tall task ahead of them as they try to unseat Wilson and Cabrillo from the top two spots. Millikan finished third last season, and graduated most of their top players from that team.
“We have a few guys who played last year, but most of the guys are brand new,” said Petkovic. “We have seven or eight underclassmen, and there’s a lot of unproven entities at the varsity level.”
The Rams return their keeper/stopper combo of Ian Woods and Caleb Sokhoor, as well as forwards Gibson Channel and Jesus Moreno. Monge Christian and Joshua Funes return at the outside left and right positions.
“The rest will be all the guys coming up from different teams,” said Petkovic. “No transfers, you know we don’t get those.”
That doesn’t mean the Rams are ducking the top competition that Petkovic typically schedules during the early preseason. They’ll face two-time CIF and State champion El Segundo, as well as Mira Costa to help get them ready for league.
Petkovic also emphasized that, as one of the founders of boys’ soccer as a sport in the Moore League, he loves seeing success at the other schools, with Wilson winning last year’s league title and Cabrillo claiming a CIF State Regional plaque.
“It’s all about the kids,” he said. “It’s not about the W, if you’re there for that you shouldn’t be here. It’s about creating memories for the kids. Winning and losing comes from hard work, and you have to be happy for anyone in your league having success.”