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Vikings continue steady improvement

Forest Grove hopes to build on last year's run to the Class 6A state quarterfinals


On the whole, 2012 was a pretty great year for the Forest Grove boys soccer team.

The Vikings blitzed to a 7-0 start in nonleague games, and after hitting a lull during conference play, they caught fire in the playoffs and made a run all the way to the Class 6A state quarterfinals.

If everything falls the right way, this year could be even better.

“I have really good talent on the field,” coach Angelo Simonetti said. “I just need a little bit more time. We’ve got to practice. I think this year will be a little bit different than last year. This season is probably going to start slowly ... because they’re not used to playing together. But I think down the road, we’re going to be OK. We’re going to be good.”

Simonetti graduated four seniors off of last year’s team, including honorable mention All-Pacific Conference stopper Willy Salgado, and two other players opted not to come out in 2013.

But the cupboard is hardly bare for the Vikings, who return 11 varsity players, including forward Reggie Lopez. He returns for his senior season after earning first team all-conference honors last year. Another 2012 all-star, junior Christian Romero (second team) should play a significant role in the middle of the park for the Vikings.

“He’s really important for our system,” Simonetti said about the midfielder.

Ricky Torres returns in goal for the Vikings, and Simonetti noted that he has high expectations for senior midfielder Pedro Rodriguez. He also pointed out newcomers in senior defender Jon Cirlincione, who has made varsity for the first time this year, and freshman Brandon Olvera, who can play at the outside midfield and forward positions.

“I think he’s going to play a big role for us this year,” Simonetti said. “I expect a lot for a freshman.”

After that sterling start a year ago, the Vikings stumbled to a fifth-place finish in the conference while dealing with illness and injuries. But thanks in part to that state playoff run, they posted a 12-5-1 record and became one of the most accomplished squads in school history.

The early trajectory of this season is different, as the Vikings dropped their first two games of the season. Simonetti said many junior varsity players participated in those games while others in the program were returning from injury or turning out late.

Simonetti noted that his goal is the Class 6A boys state championship, which is scheduled for Nov. 16 at Hillsboro Stadium.

“I have the best kids. I’m always going to trust my kids,” Simonetti said. “I have one mantra I keep to myself: You are the size of your dream. ... So you have to dream big. You have to just always look forward, especially your dreams, and keep moving.”

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