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Lakewood Soccer

PREVIEW: Lakewood Girls’ Soccer

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

Everything is new for Lakewood girls’ soccer, or at least the Lancers hope that’s the case this season.

With a roster full of newcomers, including some impactful freshmen, second-year coach Pole Luna has changed his training and tactics in order to take advantage of their strengths. That starts by developing a stronger mindset.

“I feel like we have a new culture in the program, we want a culture where we’re bonded as one,” Luna said. “The level of work (during practices and scrimmages) has gone up with a lot of new faces.”

Luna has implemented new training techniques to foster that mental growth, like having former college soccer player Amy Honeycutt (mother of current Lakewood player Allie Honeycutt) come talk to his team about how to be a better teammate on and off the field. 

“We have a very committed group of girls who always put in the effort, no matter what,” said senior Giselle Barbosa (pictured). “We always support one another. Even if we’re winning or losing, we have to stay positive. If we don’t stay positive it lets the whole team down.”

The new style Luna wants his team to play this season plays right into that approach because he wants his team being more positive, moving forward and dedicating more numbers to attack.

“This year I’m going to be more direct with the game, taking a big risk in an attacking sense,” Luna said. “We’ll see what we can adjust as we go. We have to be strong in the middle, create plays and find our two forwards.”

Those new forwards are freshman Layla Kawamura and Camila Perez. They are both fast with good club experience under their belts, and Luna said their high soccer IQ is something his team was missing last season.

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Behind them in the midfield will be Barbosa, Jessica Gonzales and Veriry Moreno. The key to their success will be maintaining possession in order to support the forwards. Gonzalez will try to facilitate that with speed on the wing, while Barbosa leads from the No. 10 position.

“She’s improved a lot and all of the girls listen to her because she’s very vocal,” Luna said of Barbosa. “She’s also very enthusiastic and that influences the team.”

“I’ve worked on mentality and confidence as a leader,” Barbosa said. “We need to be able to communicate if we want to make plays.”

The backline will be led by center back Savannah Rodriguez, who is also very vocal. She will be flanked by fullbacks Emely Martinez and Bailee Carpenter. 

Lefty wingback Mia Rodriguez is also a key piece to what Luna wants to do this year.

“This is Lakewood and this is our own, unique style,” Luna said. “That’s going to make us who we are.”

Luna is also very excited to see his plan coming together after taking over as girls’ soccer at Bancroft Middle School three years ago. His team there won a historic championship last year, and now some of those players are on his Lancers squad.

Long Beach High School Girls’ Soccer Preview
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.