Soccer Wilson

Boys’ Soccer Preview: Wilson Bruins

Last season, Wilson was a goal away from reclaiming the Moore League title after winning it in 2019 for the first time in 12 years. This season, the Bruins have reloaded an already stacked squad that has high hopes for returning to the top of the mountain again.

“I don’t feel like we have a huge weakness in the starting 11,” Wilson coach CJ Brewer said. “Last year made us stronger, more united and eager to do damage this season.”

Wilson has picked up wins against CIF Southern Section ranked opponents each year since Brewer took over in 2017, and he’s set up another challenging non-league schedule for the Bruins this season. They’ll take on Division 1 mainstays Huntington Beach, Palos Verdes and a Torrey Pines program that has won two CIF San Diego Section championships in the last three seasons.

One of the biggest reasons the Bruins are so confident is because of returning goalkeeper Gavin Pool-Harris (pictured). The junior is one of the best keepers in the state as an academy player with Pateadores Soccer Club and member of the USA Soccer developmental system.

All of the Bruins defenders in front of Pool-Harris are returning starters as senior Beck Peterson, junior Javi Mota, senior Kian Lawrence, senior Carlos Gonzalez-Garcia and senior Manuel Moreno make up an experienced and organized group. They all combined for eight clean sheets in 16 games last season.

After serving as backup quarterback and reliable wide receiver on the football team, Ian Bond has joined the team as a physical force at defensive center midfield.

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Disconnection in the midfield slowed the Bruins down on both sides of the field last season, but Brewer thinks they’ll be a more cohesive unit this year with returning Varsity seniors Cole Warden and Anthony Garcia leading the way. Sophomore wingers Luke Garza and Luca Pires will look to add pace to the midfield.

“Last year they struggled without a unified style of play,” Brewer said. “This year they’ve shown that they have a style they can connect with. It’s fast, united and we’re excited about that. We don’t have to pray for a goal and rely on our defense. I think we can score and that has made us schedule good opponents.”

“I personally love to play really good soccer and I’d love to see that from us because I think we have the potential to do so,” said Worden, who is a third-year Varsity player. “It’s quick on the ball with few touches and really fun, good looking soccer.”

With so many bodies behind the ball, Wilson is running a single striker formation with Bryan Calderon serving as the lone forward. The junior was an outside midfielder last year but is returning to his natural position.

“He’s starting to blossom and can play his own style and personality of a striker,” Brewer said of Calderon. “He’s going to run at everything and challenge every ball. He always has active feet and he wants to dribble. He can just be Bryan.”

Wilson starts the league schedule with a huge challenge as they play Millikan (Dec. 13) and Long Beach Poly (Dec. 15) in the span of three days.

“Our goal is to compete against the best of the best and to be a constant force to be reckoned with,” Brewer said.

“I think he just really cares,” Worden said of Brewer. “The success comes with what happens before practice and games. It comes from the training and team meetings.”

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.
http://The562.org