A year removed from struggling to a 3-17-2 overall record and fifth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings, Ceres High varsity boys soccer head coach Danny Barragan believes the Bulldogs are primed for a bounce-back season this winter.
"I have high expectations," said Barragan, second-year lead of Ceres High. "It's just a matter of doing it. The talent is there."
Ceres High returns a host of players from this past season, including Jay Gomes (senior forward), Juan Chavez (senior midfielder), Alex Lopez (senior midfielder), Hector Valdez (senior midfielder), Alexis Nava (senior defender), Daniel Manzo (senior defender), Freddi Lopez (senior goalkeeper), Bryan Silva (senior goalkeeper), Rafael Guzman (junior midfielder/forward) and Saul Ruiz (junior defender).
Ruiz earned second-team all-WAC honors at the varsity level as a sophomore.
Christian Martinez (senior forward/midfielder), Ivan Arita (junior defender), Gustavo Hernandez (junior defender), Daniel Yepez (junior forward) and Pablo Duran (sophomore forward/midfielder) are new to the team.
Duran, Yepez, Arita and Hernandez contributed at the junior-varsity level last season.
Martinez didn't play soccer.
"We have a lot of individual talent," Barragan said while talking about the importance of chemistry. "But this is a team sport."
The Bulldogs posted a 2-11-2 record against WAC competition last winter.
Pacheco (11-1-3), Livingston (11-2-2) and Central Valley (9-4-2) placed first, second and third, respectively.
Central Valley advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship game.
"Our league is really competitive," Barragan said. "There are no easy teams anymore. If we finish in the top three that would be a successful season."
Ceres High collected two wins, eight losses and two ties during the preseason.
The Bulldogs will begin WAC play this week.
Ceres High will play host to crosstown-rival Central Valley at 4 p.m.