Pushing to get back in playoffs

Jeff Tully

The 2002-03 boys’ soccer season was a campaign most of the local

teams would like to forget.

Of the four schools -- Burbank, Burroughs, Providence and


Bellarmine-Jefferson highs -- only the Indians made the CIF Southern

Section playoffs.

This season, just three teams have the opportunity to make the

postseason, as the Pioneers aren’t fielding a squad due to low



With competition beginning next week, here is a look at how the

season is shaping up.


Coach Mike Kodama enters his 16th season with a talented team and

a fine crop of returning players.

“We have a very sold core of returning players, and many of them

play club soccer,” Kodama said. “So we know we have a group with



Leading the way for Burroughs (12-10-2, 5-4-1 in Foothill League)

is senior defender Jason Salazar, a four-year varsity player who

earned All-CIF Southern Section Division II honors last season

The team also has outstanding players in senior defender Marco

Gomez, junior midfielder Chris Leiva, junior defender Robert DeLeon,

sophomore midfielder Spencer Ross and sophomore goalkeeper Kevin



Burroughs also gets back the services of senior J.D. Caravantes,

who was out most of last season with a knee injury.

After a third-place finish in league last season, Kodama expects

another tough time this year.

“It is going to be a dogfight,” he said. “There is probably not

going to be too many blowouts in the league. Most of the scores are

going to be pretty close.”


The Guards have a new coach in Arturo Lopez, who comes to the

school after eight years at L.A. Cathedral. Last season, the Phantoms

(13-5-3) advanced to the Division IV quarterfinals.

When he got his first look at the Bell-Jeff players, Lopez said he

was impressed with Guard senior forward Zaven Dedeian. Lopez said the

skilled forward has the skills to play in college.

“We are trying to look for a Division I school for Zaven,” Lopez

said. “I have coached some players who have gone on to play at that

level, and Zaven has the tools to do that.”

Lopez said he will use Dedeian as a forward or a center/midfielder

to hopefully keep him from being tightly marked.

Senior midfielder Roger Anaya, sophomore defender Stephen Sadifar

and midfielder Hanniel Puell should give the Guards (3-11, 3-7) some


“As far as [goalkeepers] go, we have four who are fighting for a

starting spot,” Lopez said.

In the race for a playoff spot, Lopez said he expects L.A.

Salesian and Pasadena La Salle to provide the biggest competition.


With questions about his team’s ability to score goals,

second-year Burbank Coach Michael Bailie has gone defensive.

“We have the German offense this year,” he said. “We have a bunch

of 6-foot-3 guys who can really get physical. We are going to play

smashmouth defense.

“We are also going to play something called 10-in-the box, where

we have 10 of our players swarming around the ball at all times.”

The Burbank (7-12-5, 0-8-2) defense will be anchored by seniors

Alex Herman, Martin Armas and Oscar Jarpa.

On offense, Bailie said he is expecting someone to step up and be

a leader, with seniors Nick Ortinlini and Enrique Lewin and junior

Chris Youhana the leading candidates.

Junior Michael Collins is the front-runner for the starting

goalkeeper spot, however, junior Rigo Maya could take over the


“I think we should be more competitive this season against

Valencia, Canyon and Hart than we were last season,” Bailie said. “We

are going to try and throw some different things at teams. I think

some teams might have problems with us.

“Our goal is to improve, and to be able to make it to the

playoffs, which we didn’t do last season.”