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Soccer St. Anthony

PREVIEW: St. Anthony Girls’ Soccer

There’s a buzz surrounding the St. Anthony girls’ soccer program, which has a lot to do with the fact that Clark Field can once again be the home of the Saints.

Last year, the renovations and turf field construction caused both St. Anthony soccer teams to play the entirety of their schedules on the road. They also had to practice at remote locations like Heartwell Park.

“It’s great to have our own field and it’s a big factor for us,” second-year coach Rina Perez said. “Practicing at Heartwell, it was long grass and we had to take more touches than we needed. Now on the turf it’s crispy passes with goals to shoot on. It’s helped us with shooting and creating passing patterns.”

“It’s going to be a fun season and the team is excited because we don’t have to travel as far,” said senior captain Miranda Cassidy (pictured). “It was tough. We were always out and about, and everything was always up in the air. Now we can have home field advantage.  It’s really exciting to be at a set place this season.”

After settling into the job last year, Perez is more familiar with her personnel and is ready to be bold while building from the back line where she has a bunch of experience. Cassidy will be the leader on defense, and moving forward in attack, alongside fellow team captains Amaya De Santos and Olivia Olmos at center backs.

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“This group of girls really knows each other and how we play so that helps our passing,” Cassidy said. “ But sometimes our girls are too nice. We like to give each other the ball. I think we can be better if we’re a bit more selfish when shooting the ball. Just go for it. Our coach is working on that with us.”

Perez also said she’s also very excited to have freshman goalkeeper Leila Meza join the program after years of elite club experience.

The captain in the midfield is junior Isabella Cruz. She is joined by fellow juniors Alexia Padilla and Ava Butardo, and that trio has been putting in the extra work after practice to build a better connection.

Sophomore Jaelyn Moreno is back up top where freshman forwards Adanna Mjeme and Jayde Gallegos will try to inject some youthful exuberance into the Saints style of play.

“We’re so excited and motivated because we think we could’ve done so much better last year,” Cassidy said. “This is our year. We have a home, new players, and we’re looking forward to it.”

St. Anthony starts this season in CIF-SS Division 6.

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.