GLENDALE — On the brink of the Glendale Community College men’s soccer team beginning its season, Laura Matsumoto is eager to see where the Vaqueros stand.
During the last six weeks, Matsumoto, the program’s first-year coach following a 27-year run by Joe Agoston, has been busy at practice sessions working individually with most of the players to help them comprehend what it will take to compete at the collegiate level. She’s been firm and to the point in getting her message across to a squad that will feature just five sophomores.
“I’m going to keep the rope short, but not too tight,” said Matsumoto’s, whose team will kick off its season at 3 p.m. Wednesday with a nonconference road match against Irvine Valley. “I want players who are willing to commit their time to the program and constantly trying to get better.
“I hold myself to a high standard and I very much want to move the program forward and be a tough team to compete against.”
Matsumoto served as an assistant under Agoston, who stepped down after last season, since 2005 after previously working as an assistant for the college’s women’s soccer team from 2000-04. She’ll look to turn around a team that finished 2-18-1, 1-15 for last place in the nine-team Western State Conference last season and lead Glendale to its first winning season since 2003, when it finished 12-5-4 and last advanced to the Southern California Regionals.
There figures to be plenty of depth for Matsumoto to choose from when looking to put together a starting lineup.
“We have some good depth throughout and everybody has the potential to contribute,” Matsumoto said. “We are trying to get players who have a solid foundation from high school.
“We have 21 games to play and we have to put forward our best effort each time. There’s no reset button. Once you get on the field, you have to battle hard, have a strong work ethic and be disciplined.”
Glendale sophomore forward Raimond Baghoomian (Crescenta Valley High) said the players have adapted to Matsumoto and will look to meet her expectations.
“She’s given good vibes and she works with you to get better,” Baghoomian said. “The practices have been solid and you start to see yourself developing in a lot of different areas.
“We have a lot of balance throughout the team. Now, we’ll just go out there and try to win some games.”
Among those expected to vie for the starting goalkeeping spot are sophomore Julian Ortega and freshman Bryan Cameras.
The Vaqueros’ defense will likely feature sophomores Michael Ajemian (Crescenta Valley) and Abraham Orozco. They will be joined by freshmen Akram Abdulrahman, Erik Adamyan (Crescenta Valley), Nicholas Brayley, Kevin De Niz, Nobert Garabedean (Crescenta Valley), Hugo Hernandez, Eduardo Lopez, Jose Luis Perez-Badillo and Jason Sandoval.
The midfielders will likely be sophomore Brayan Ochoa and freshmen Juan Carvente, Araeik Davoudian (Crescenta Valley), Ivan Equihua, Francisco Fajardo, Cesar Olivares, Maxwell Trautmann (Burbank), Erick Trejo (Crescenta Valley) and Dennis Valladares.
Among those seeking to line up at forward are Baghoomian and freshmen Satsuki Ito, Alejandro Marroquin and Yeyson Urizar.
The Vaqueros will play three of their five nonconference matches at home. Glendale’s first home game at Sartoris Field will be at 7 p.m. Friday against Cypress.
Glendale will start conference at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 on the road against Citrus and will finish the regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at home against Oxnard.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .