Ceres High’s varsity boys soccer team won a combined eight games the past two years.
Third-year coach Danny Barragan believes the Bulldogs are going to enjoy a major turnaround this winter.
“This is the most-talented group I’ve seen my seven years at Ceres High. Almost everyone can play more than one position. I have a lot of options.”Coach Danny Barragan
“This is the most-talented group I’ve seen my seven years at Ceres High,” Barragan said. “Almost everyone can play more than one position. I have a lot of options.”
Ceres High’s top returners are Saul Ruiz (Sr.), Ivan Arita (Sr.), Raul Guzman (Sr.), Gustavo Hernandez (Sr.), Pablo Duran (Jr.) and Andres Madriz (Jr.).
The Bulldogs’ top newcomers are Leo Trujillo (Sr.), Luis Medina (Jr.), Hugo Mercado (Jr.), Victor Hurtado (Jr.) and Hassiel Ruiz (Jr.).
Ruiz was named co-WAC Defender of the Year as a junior.
Medina and Mercado competed at the junior-varsity level last season.
“There’s so much competition between the team at practice,” Barragan said. “No position is secure. You have to work for it and keep working to have it.”
Ceres High’s conference schedule includes games against Los Banos, Pacheco, Beyer, Grace Davis, Johansen, Lathrop and Mountain House.
Beyer, Grace Davis, Johansen relocated from the Modesto Metro Conference to the WAC as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment plan.
Lathrop and Mountain House were members of the Valley Oak League and Trans Valley League last winter.
The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the playoffs.
“In this sport, it doesn’t matter how good you are,” Barragan said. “You can’t underestimate any team.”
Ceres High amassed a 4-13-5 overall record and finished fifth in the WAC (2-5-3) during the 2017-18 school year.
“I feel better about my team this year,” Barragan said. “I have a lot of good kids. They all have respect for each other. It’s a really motivated and talented group.”
Barragan has a new assistant coach in Gilberto Zamora.
“He’s wanted to help out for years,” Barragan said. “He has more experience than I do.”