The562’s season previews for the 2022-23 school year are sponsored by Vertical Raise, the official team fundraising partner of The562.
The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.
The Long Beach Poly girls’ soccer team three-peated as Moore League champions from 2014 through 2016, the first time the Jackrabbits had done that this century. In the six years since, however, they’ve watched as Wilson and Millikan have won three titles each, on the outside looking in. That’s been a difficult place for a proud Poly program to find itself, and Poly coach Anthony Perez feels like this year’s Jackrabbits squad is the one to get back to the top of the ladder.
“I’m excited for this season, at the end of the day just like every year between the top teams, anybody can beat anybody,” said Perez. “I like my team this year–I think we’ve got great depth, and we’ve got a really good senior class. We’re a senior-oriented team with 13 seniors who will be playing regularly, and a very talented young sophomore class too.”
The Jackrabbits’ senior class is strong, and packed with college-ready talent including Jackson State signee Kyla Gomez, who will be one of the top two scoring threats for Poly alongside Misha Hebert.
“Our attacking is going to be very strong and our defense is lockdown,” said Gomez. “I feel like this year we have everything we need, all the pieces we need. As long as we stay disciplined and work together, we should do very well.”
In a 3-5-2 structure for Poly, Gomez and Hebert will play up top. The midfielders present Perez with some options, but expect to see Katana Van Deusen and Annette Guzman as defensive mids, with Sydney Santos on the outside left, and Malayah Nuestro, Cynthia Ramirez, and Kiara Van Deusen in the mix as well.
On defense, Alex Valente is the center back with Danika Hunter on one side and Lauren Zwerner or Kiara Van Deusen on the other. The keeper will be Kennedy Justin, another college-ready talent with plenty of experience for Poly.
What has Perez and Gomez feeling optimistic about Poly’s chances is the Jackrabbits’ depth--there’s very little fall-off at each position with multiple subs available.
“We just want to leave it on the field and display what we’ve got,” said Gomez. “Our expectations are very positive--we’re all just very motivated to work hard and have a great season.”
The Jackrabbits will need to be in top form right out of the gate, as they face the other top teams early in the season, visiting Wilson on Dec. 8 and hosting Millikan on Dec. 15.
“My girls have to perform, because if they don’t, the talent is there to beat us,” said Perez.
He and Gomez both talked about how much it would mean to the Jackrabbits program to bring the Moore League trophy back to 1600 Atlantic.
“Getting our fingers on it, it really would mean a lot,” said Perez. “This is the biggest class of seniors that we’ve had for quite a while. It would mean a lot to send these kids off with a title. It’s time for us to come back to that.”