NORTHEAST GLENDALE — For the members of the Glendale Community College men's soccer team, progress will be marked beginning with the first match of the season.
Veteran Glendale Community College Coach Joe Agoston issued the warning shortly after the team began its string of practices in mid-August.
Agoston will look to see what the future will hold with his team when it kicks off its season with a nonconference road match against San Bernardino Valley College at 5 p.m. today.
"Everything will count, from the first game until the last," said Agoston, who will begin his 25th season with the Vaqueros. "It's going to come down to how they perform out there, along with hustle and a desire to win."
Glendale college will look to produce its first winning season in seven years and its first trip to the Southern California Regionals since 2003. The Vaqueros finished 5-14-2 and 3-10-1 in the Western State Conference last season after going 10-10-3 and 7-5-2 in 2008.
Glendale will probably field about 22 players, eight of whom will be sophomores. Finding veteran leadership and a formidable lineup will be a top priority for Agoston, especially during the Vaqueros' first stretch of matches.
"Hopefully, we will have some good team chemistry," said Agoston, who will aim to lead the Vaqueros to their first conference championship since 2000. "Are they a work in progress? Yes.
"It's going to be a slow process. Hopefully we have the caliber of players that can help us make the playoffs and win conference."
Said Glendale assistant Coach Laura Matsumoto: "We want to be disciplined, have a high work rate and be able to produce. With the returners we have coming back, we hope they are a little more mature in their play."
The Vaqueros, who will play 10 of their first 13 matches at Sartoris Field, will look to get the bulk of freshmen on the squad comfortable with playing at the collegiate level.
Agoston, whose team will start conference play with a home match against Allan Hancock College at 7 p.m. Sept. 28, will seek a suitable goalkeeper to keep the Vaqueros in matches. The Vaqueros lost standout Geoff Pogue, a former all-conference selection, to graduation.
Agoston can choose from sophomore Edwin Cabrera and freshmen Jonathan Moctezuma and Hakop Boghossian.
Boghossian, a Hoover High graduate, earned All-Pacific first-team and All-Area second-team accolades last season after helping the Tornadoes qualify for the CIF playoffs.
The defense will feature sophomores Hans Cabrera, Tomas Jolon and Rudis Lazo.
They will be joined by freshmen Frank Coca, Manolo Garcia, Yusepe Garcia, Gustavo Gomez, a Burroughs graduate, and Jose Rosales.
Patrolling the midfield will be sophomore Geraldo Puga and freshmen Jeffrey Earle, Bryan Esqueda, Jonathan Lopez, Arvin Nazari, Buzand Oganesian and Jonathan Torres.
The forwards figure to be sophomore Tade Mirzaian, Jason Acosta and Yader Arita and freshman Ramsey Issa, a Burroughs graduate.
Mirzaian, a Crescenta Valley graduate, said he's eager to see how the Vaqueros come together.
"We are expecting a ton this season," Mirzaian said. "I think we'll have a lot of players coming back with vengeance."