Little Hawks Kick Off Season

The City High men’s soccer team looks to find success again with many new faces after making it to the state championship game last season.


Jonathan House and Noah Bullwinkle

After falling to West Des Moines Valley 3-1 in the state championship last year, the City High boys soccer team is looking to continue its recent success and return to state, something that captain Jonah Dancer ‘18 says won’t come without work.

“Work hard at practice, and just do what [head coach Jose Fajardo] wants us to,” Dancer said of what the team needs to do to be successful this year.

With the Little Hawks’ great success last season where they were undefeated going into the state championship game, there are high expectations for the team this year. However, head coach Fajardo says the team is not trying to create an exact replica of last year’s squad.

Last year’s team was dynamic and had a high octane offense, averaging three goals per game. Nasim Salih ‘16 led last year’s squad with 11 goals. Collin O’Maera ‘16 also had five goals and nine assists. Their defense, led by Victor Brown-Rodriguez ‘16, was also quite strong, only allowing eight goals the entire season. Nonetheless, Fajardo isn’t looking to try and recreate last year’s team.

“I don’t think that you can recreate [last season] because every year is different, every game is different, but we have set our standards really high, and that’s probably one of the biggest problems that we have,” Fajardo said. “We were almost perfect last year, and trying to be perfect again is very difficult, but we are capable of it, so that’s what we are working towards.”

To get the team ready for a new season, Fajardo has had to focus on rebuilding, even if he isn’t 100% sure how all the pieces will fall into place.

“Well, just getting the pieces together. We lost a majority of the starters that went last year to state. Even a lot of the guys that were here last year, they weren’t playing any minutes. There is a lot of depth,” Fajardo said. “A few days before the first game, we still didn’t know where some players were gonna play.”

This season, Fajardo expects many younger players who haven’t played many minutes to step up into major roles this year. This includes Hunter and Ethan teDuits ‘18, John Clark ’18, and Imata Mwenekamba ’17 who was on junior varsity last year but has made the jump to varsity for his senior season.

One of the staples of the team for two years has been goalkeeper Sam Tomek ‘17. As the last line of defense last season, Tomek only allowed seven goals. He believes the most important aspect the team has to have is discipline in order return to state.

“I think we’ve got the talent to do it, we just have to be disciplined,” he said. “[We also have] some newer players, sophomores and freshmen that can play on this team very well and can help us out, especially up top with their speed.”

Fajardo believes the team can use its speed, depth, and physicality to wear other teams down, although he admits the Little Hawks still have work to do with improving their technical abilities to get to the level they want to be at.

“Now we need to see if we can match that with our technical abilities, which is the way we like to play and keep the ball for 80 minutes. If we are capable of that with the physical abilities we have, the other teams are going to suffer in minute 60, minute 65,” Fajardo said.

The Little Hawks started their season with a 3-0 win in a scrimmage against Regina this Monday. Fajardo and the team will play a one half match against Cedar Rapids Kennedy this Thursday, March 30th.

“It’s a new year, different faces, so we’ll see how it goes,” Fajardo said.