New coach Jason Bell has Lakeridge looking for a return to form

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge midfielder Elesonso Cristobal will be one of the Pacers' most dangerous players this year on a squad that hopes to make waves in the TRL. A new coach has instilled a healthy does of confidence into the Lakeridge boys soccer team this year. Jason Bell takes over this year after assisting with Tualatin's varsity team last year.

Bell moved to the U.S. from Australia three years ago and has been a part of the Portland Timbers' Olympic Development Program.

He takes over a program with a strong core of six seniors and a large and talented junior class. The Pacers are coming off an anomaly of a season last fall that saw them finish in a tie for fifth place in the Three Rivers League.

But Lakeridge appears to be primed for a dramatic turnaround this season, one that could see them challenge for the league title again.

“It's a strong group and they've put in a really hard preseason. I can't see why we couldn't beat anyone on a given night,” Bell said.

The Pacers will be a very strong defensive team this season and figure to feature a balanced attack up front.

The defense is anchored by sophomore goalie Trevor Wilson, one of the top young keepers in the state. Center defenders Nick Rooney and Ben Barna should give the Pacers a very sound back line and Lakeridge has been focusing on playing solid team defense early in the season.

The Pacers should also benefit from the addition of sophomore Ryota Ito, whose family recently moved into the area from Japan.

In the midfield, senior Eleonso Cristobal figures to be one of the more dangerous players in the league this season.

“He's a very creative player,” Bell said.

Bruno Homedes and Sean McGuire will also be key targets up front for Lakeridge's offense.

As a whole, the team is very well balanced as seniors Taylor Douglas, Reilly Kirk, Zack Goldstein, Cory Barba and Alec Home provide experience and leadership.

Lakeridge will be a team that relies on possession and will be deliberate in its attack.

“The team has been very patient with its build-up. We've been able to apply a lot of pressure,” Bell said.

In its opening pair of games, the Pacers tied Southridge 1-1 after controlling much of that contest and knocked off Forest Grove convincingly 4-0. In those games, five different players scored for the Pacers.

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