Fri, Dec 20 2013 01:25 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
High school soccer will have a new face in South County in 2013-14 and, according to Castle Park High School boys team coach Jose Cobian Jr., the Trojans are “excited” to take on the best the Metro Conference may have to offer.
“It is exciting,” Cobian said. “A long time ago we used to play teams like Hilltop. Hilltop and Chula Vista are defending league champions.”
Castle Park has landed with Hilltop, Chula Vista and Sweetwater in the Metro-Pacific League. It is likely the strongest of the three leagues carved from the conference.
Southwest, Mar Vista, Montgomery and San Ysidro will compete in the Metro-South Bay League while Bonita Vista, Eastlake, Mater Dei Catholic, Otay Ranch and Olympian will compete in the Metro-Mesa League.
League membership is based on geographic rivalries.
Hilltop won last season’s Mesa League championship while Chula Vista won last season’s South Bay League championship.
But the Trojans look like they just might figure in the mix after kicking off the season with an undefeated 5-0-1 start.
The team is currently competing in the annual Grossmont Conference holiday tournament. Castle Park opened tourney play with a 1-0 win against San Dieguito Academy and a 3-2 victory against Valhalla in games last Saturday at East County sites.
Prior to that, the Trojans defeated Morse (8-2 on Dec. 3), Lincoln (3-0 on Dec. 6) and Mission Bay (1-0 on Dec. 10) before playing to a tie against King-Chavez Community (2-2 on Dec. 11).
Sophomore Abraham Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal in the match against SDA on a direct free kick, but it took a penalty kick block in the dying minutes by CP senior goalkeeper Erwin Campos to preserve the victory.
“When they called it, I was excited,” Campos related. “I was ready for it, I was anxious.”
Senior Felipe Liborio Jr. scored all three goals in the Trojans’ win over Valhalla. The CPHS coach called the back-and-forth affair a “very tough game.”
Liborio scored the game-winner on a PK.
Castle Park’s next two games in the tournament include Mater Dei Catholic (scheduled Thursday at CPHS) and Torrey Pines (Saturday at Helix High School).
“Torrey Pines is going to be a tough game,” Cobian said. “They’re a good team, but we’re up for the challenge.”
“Up for the challenge” appears to be the Trojans catch phrase this season.
Both Hilltop and Chula Vista will compete in the new Open Division this season while Castle Park moves up from Division III to Division II for the playoffs.
“We’re the smallest school in our league but we’re up for the challenge,” Cobian said. “We’re excited. But we still have a lot of work to do. There are things to improve on.”
Team leaders this season include Liborio, an attacking midfielder, senior midfielder Alejandro Rodriguez, Campos and junior outside defender/midfieleder Johnny Negrete.
“Everyone has contributed but those four players have been the most consistent,” Cobian said.
© 2009 The Star-News