Kozuch speaks in advance of soccer season

Published 4:36 pm Saturday, August 20, 2016

Washington soccer asserted its dominance over the entire region last year. The Pam Pack leveled just about every team it faced en route to an appearance in the 2-A state championship, but fell short against Salisbury.

Now the team is faced with the challenge of retooling while still trying to follow up last year’s spectacular season. It lost a dozen players from that squad, including the likes of Kyle Hodges and Freddy Jimenez.

The defense remains very much intact. The midfield will be young, albeit talented, but there are some concerns about where the scoring will come from.

Washington opens its season Monday at South Central. Here’s what coach Jim Kozuch had to say about how the team looks entering the 2016 campaign.


On the team’s experience entering the season:

“We are a very inexperienced team. There are a lot of younger guys on the team and a couple of guys coming back. We do have little bit of senior leadership. Obviously, after a state-championship run, losing 12 of those 18 guys, there are a lot of question marks.

On who he will lean on for leadership:

“Rob Zerniak is coming back. He had a great season with about 30 goals last year. Ben McKeithan, a defender, he’s been a starting defender for a few years. He’s a great defender and had a ton of assists last year. Zack Pagnani is another strong defender for us. He plays with a lot of confidence. Off the bench, we have Blake Parker. He has a lot of experience and has been with the program for a while. We’re pretty young. Those four guys are our captains, so hopefully they’ll push us through.”

On how the Pam Pack’s play style will change:

“We’re going to be different. We’re not going to go out and mercy rule every team we play this year. We’re going to be a strong defensive team hopefully. Offensively, we should be solid. Our starting midfield (at South Central) will be one of the youngest midfields I’ve ever started.”

On which younger players to look out for:

“There are two 10th graders that had great freshmen years. I’d put them up against anybody right now, as far as their work ethics. These guys have absolutely busted their butts. One of them is Tim Anglim and the other one is Oscar Espinoza. They’re great kids all around and their work ethic is second to none. I think they want it just as much as any of the seniors do.”

On what he would like to see from the first game:

“I’m not really sure what we’re going to be. I’d like to see some great ball movement. We’ve only had three practices as a team. I’d like to see us just get better every minute of the game. We have a goalie (Kevin Avilla) who is definitely college bound. He’s tremendous in the goal. I want to see him speaking and leading the defense.

“Of course, I’d like to see us bury a bunch in the back of the net. Obviously, when we lose Freddy and Kyle last year, I think they combined for about 80 goals, so I’d like to see us put the ball in the back of the net. That’s the only area I’m sort of concerned.”