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Soccer Wilson

PREVIEW: Wilson Boys’ Soccer

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

A disappointing 2022-23 campaign has Wilson boys’ soccer champing at the bit to get back on the field. The Bruins went 5-4-3 in the Moore League last season, just a year after winning the title for the second time in a four year stretch.

“High expectations, hard work and excitement has been the vibes at training,” coach CJ Brewer said. “The returning guys learned from their mistakes.”

Wilson has seven key returning starters who have been dedicated to fitness in the offseason, and they’re led by senior captain Lucca Pires (pictured). He was forced to play mostly defensive midfield last year due to team need, but was moved up when the Bruins needed more offense. He delivered with a bunch of key goals, and Brewer wants to see that from him again this season.

“We need people to step up and take over games, and Lucca will do that every time,” Brewer said. “Teams will have to pay attention to him because of the impact he will have on games.”

“Last year we didn’t work hard enough in the preseason, we thought we were too good, we were over cocky, and that’s not going to happen this year,” Pires said. “We’ve learned from our mistakes, and this is going to be a different team. We’re going to be ready for two full halves every single game and we’re going to be pressuring the entire game.”

Pires will be joined in the midfield by fellow senior returners Luke Garza and Christian Rangel. They will try to share the ball well to open up channels for senior striker Dominic Dochelez in attack. He is also one of the seven returning starters.

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The other three seniors coming back to solidify the defensive back line are Ian Bond, Ben Franjic and Cesar Perez. They will be in front of goalkeeper Grayson Gilmore who has won the job as a junior in his first year with the team.

Gilmore is a MLS Next Academy player with LAFC and the LA Breakers, but has been given permission to play for his school this season. Brewer said the 6’3” keeper will have an immediate impact thanks in large part to his high soccer IQ. 

What has the Bruins most excited for this season is that they won’t have to rely heavily on one aspect, or one player, to create opportunities.

“Our style of play can be more pretty and we can move the ball beautifully together,” Brewer said. “We’re excited how they can share, trust each other and limit their touches. We’ve got more of a complete team with more depth… We can do more damage because of that.”

Brewer has once again set out a challenging pre-season schedule for his team with games against quality programs in Servite, Palos Verdes, Downey, Clovis and Reedley so he can, “Challenge this  group against better teams while not caring about our record, but more about exposing them to top talent to help with our development.”


Pires thinks that approach is key to pushing this Wilson to be its best.

“(Brewer) has got the mindset that if you can’t give 100 percent, you’re not on the field, and he enforces that every single practice,” Pires said. “We want to bring this team to a Moore League championship because we deserve it.”

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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.