Prep Impressions: Dec. 12, 2015

I covered the Claremont-Redlands East Valley boys varsity soccer game on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, and came away thinking the Wildcats have started the season in form.

REV (5-0-1 overall) has five victories via shutout, outscoring its opponents 8-1, but it’s not just goal differential with the Wildcats. Coach Ted Small is talking the talk, and senior Jonathan Garcia is walking the walk.

There could be any number of reasons (teams are intimidated) or a combination of reasons (high pressure and good communication) but it’s hard to find a team anywhere playing as well as REV.

“Something’s been working, I agree,” Small said.

Small’s team is currently bouncing around’s California Top 10, and are ranked just behind Ontario Chaffey in the Inland Area Prep Soccer Top 10. He’s never at a loss for superlatives when describing his side after a nice win.

Garcia is playing midfield like he has something to prove. Which he still does — against every challenge from a player on the other side naive enough to think having a few more inches and pounds will means anything. And that seems to bother people, both on the field and in the stands.

Claremont Head Coach Fred Bruce-Oliver:

“(REV) is no a bad team. They’re organized. They know what they’re trying to do, and they have a pretty good player who causes everybody trouble. Quick little guy. We’ve played very competitive matches. We’re very happy about that. It’s a good start. It’s a very good start. We’re putting together a brand new team. Lost a whole bunch of guys last year. I think REV did, too. I talked to their coach. But it’s very promising. It’s hard to say (what the strength of the team will be). I think we have the pieces. The next few weeks will be putting it together. We have guys who can play we just have to mesh them, have them know their roles, and then hopefully… There were some good things that I saw today. We played a fair game, I think. Chaffey is a good team. They were in the final at CIF last year and I don’t think they dropped, I don’t think there’s been a drop in their talent. Maybe the depth of their talent but not the guys they got on the field. They are going to be tough. To be successful this season we need to become a team., and that always takes times. The kids, individually, probably have their own agendas about what their part should be in the team but my job and my staff’s job, is to get them to buy in to what we want them to do because that’s what we know will be successful. It’s a tough job, tough job.”

Redlands East Valley Head Coach Ted Small:
“Pretty difficult for us, to be honest. Claremont, well-organized, a lot older than us. We have about four seniors, and then the rest of these kids are sophomores and juniors getting it done. I think physically they were bigger but we just got done dealing with that at Diamond Bar, where Diamond Bar kind of beat us up, played real physical but I think the hard part it containing us for 80 minutes. It’s very difficult because offensively we’re just so fast. I think we’re still piecing it together right now. I wouldn’t even say that we played 50 percent of what we could eventually be. The hard part is we’ve had more games than practices since Thanksgiving. It’s been kind of a nightmare for us. Not only that but Diamond Bar had two shots. They scored one of them and never saw the goal again really. For us, I’m happy with where we’re at, league starts next week, and we’ve won 20 games three years in a row. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and get too happy because we could drop this and be in trouble again. The stress and the competitiveness of being in the Top 3 every year is really killing us. It’s funny because this year we decided we we’re going to be real optimistic, and if it happens it happens. We didn’t feel that pressure and it looks like it’s worked so far. League starts next week so we’ll see. We’ve won 32 games, lost one, tied one in three years in league so at this point right now we’re the big opponent for everybody. Everybody gets up for us, and we have to try to get up for everybody else. We lead off with (Rialto) Carter, last year’s second place which is pretty competitive, and we’re destined to win the title again. I think we’ll be good. We’ll be exciting and competitive.”

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