Girls' soccer teams have their share of talented young players

Brady Riggs didn't play boys' soccer when he attended Burroughs High in the 1980s. He did, however, compete on the boys' golf team and had an outstanding career.

Riggs turned out to be perhaps the finest male golfer in school history, earning high school All-American honors. He also has since been inducted into the Burroughs High Athletic Hall of Fame.

Riggs has returned to his alma mater to coach — but not golf. Instead, he is the Indians' new girls' soccer coach.

"I have been coaching my eldest daughter in soccer since she was 5 and now she's a freshman at Burroughs," said Riggs about his daughter, Maddy. "One thing led to another, then all of a sudden I'm involved with the school again and now I'm the girls' soccer coach. It's just bizarre how the whole thing turned out.

"But I'm thrilled to be here. I just love the school. I went to Burroughs, my wife graduated from the school, both of my parents went to Burroughs and my uncle [Mickey McNamee] just got inducted into the Hall of Fame. So, it feels right to be here with daughter. I am also very passionate about soccer."

While Riggs takes over the program at Burroughs, Bellarmine-Jefferson also has a new coach in Brenda Garcia, who went to school at Santa Cruz League foe St. Genevieve.

With a solid group of returners, Burbank is hoping to make a push for a Pacific League championship and hopefully knock off perennial league favorites Arcadia and Crescenta Valley.

Providence will have a small team after struggling to get a group together this season. The Pioneers will field a squad, despite almost having to scrap the season due to low numbers.

Here is a closer look at the teams.

BURROUGHS

The Indians (13-12-2) are coming off a season in which they stayed in contention for the league title until the final two matches of the regular season. Burroughs ended up placing third.

"I am their third coach in four years, so I'm hoping to bring a little stability to the program," said Riggs, a 1986 Burroughs graduate. "They have had their ups and downs over the last few years and I just wanted to come in and let them know I care about them and I want them to do well and I will do everything to help them out.

"They are a good group and our team is going to have, I think, 13 seniors in the program. And that helps because they have the experience and know what's expected of them."

The Indians have a solid group of returners, led by senior goalkeeper Taylor Bailey, senior forward Emma Pineiro and senior center Alexis Hernendez, all of them team captains.

"We have some great leadership with the three captains," Riggs said. "They are all very good players and we're going to need them to step up for us."

Other players Riggs said he will rely on are senior midfielder Kelly Arrue, junior center Kristin Masuzumi, sophomore midfielder Noelle Garcia and sophomore midfielder Brianna Castillo.

"The chemistry on the team is good and they're excited about the season," Riggs said. "What is great is that we have a freshman class that came in that is so good and so talented that they are pushing some of the seniors for starting spots."

Since arriving at Burroughs, Riggs has started a freshman-sophomore team and estimates there are 25 players in the program and had more than 75 try out.

"We are hoping the numbers are going to help us out in the long run, as well as in league," Riggs said. "It has basically been CV's and Arcadia's league, and no one will expect that to drop this season. But I think there's talent across the league. Hopefully we can be up there."

BURBANK

With their share of returning impact players, the Bulldogs fully expect to be included in the Pacific League championship picture this season.

"I think we should make a pretty good run at the championship this year," said Burbank Coach Eric Montoya, whose team went 13-9-1 and finished fourth in the Pacific League a year ago. "I think we have a really good chance. Once we really start playing well together I think we will be pretty solid."

The Burbank defense should be led by senior Michelle Morales, while senior Clarrissa Guerrero should see her share of touches from the forward spot.

"A lot of these players have been with the program since they were freshmen, so they know what is expected of them and they have been through it all before," Montoya said. "What is also great about some of them is because they know what I expect from them, they are like little coaches on the field. That is a big advantage."

Also adding to the mix of returners are senior midfielder Dakota Briseno, senior defense Yvette Niwa, senior forward Emma Dixon and junior midfielder Lauren Brenn.

"We have seven starting players coming back, and I think we're going to be good," Montoya said. "We do need some work, but they are very athletic and the talent is definitely there.

"We have also had a very good freshman class, so that is great for us as well."

Freshmen who Montoya expect to contribute are midfielder Mireya Gonzalez, forward Kira Bouchard and Nicole Winters, who will play defense.

Getting a chance at the goalkeeper position is junior Allison Tiegs, a standout on the Bulldogs' girls' volleyball team.

BELL-JEFF

Garcia takes over a Guards team that went 0-12 and 0-8 for last place in the Santa Cruz League last season. The coach is also dealing with the headache of not having a practice facility in which to train and Garcia said she is still unsure of where Bell-Jeff will play its home games.

"We are making the best of it," said Garcia, who played at L.A. Valley College. "The group of girls that I do have are very dedicated and hard working. They have really shown that they are dedicated to the team as well as the school. That is a big deal for me. I love to have that dedication in players and it looks like we're off to a good start.

"But we have a fairly young team with I think just one senior. The rest are juniors and freshmen. But that's good to have young players and I'm looking forward to see what the future will bring for those players."

Two players who Garcia expects to lead the Guards are freshman forward/midfielder Kristen Lane and junior goalkeeper/defense Emily Arrue.

"Those will be the two main players for us," Garcia said. "We will have to see what other players will step up and which players will be able to earn starting jobs. We still haven't filled out the entire team yet."

PROVIDENCE

The Pioneers are coming off a season in which they went 0-5-1 and failed to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs out of the Liberty League.

"It has been tough with the girls' team," Providence Coach Kordo Doski said. "We have struggled to get a team together and we thought seriously if we were going to have enough players to even field a team this season."

With that said, Doski said he is still in the process of filling out his team and seeing where he can place players.

Two players he knows he will have to rely on our junior center/midfielder Karni Boghokian and junior sweeper Brittany Uyeno.

"We will just really have to wait and see what we will have with the girls' team," Doski said. "At this point, I don't really know."

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
67°