Boys Soccer Season Preview

Alima Mmunga ’23 and Andrew Lopez ’23 high five after scoring.

The men’s soccer team started their preseason workouts over City High’s spring break marking the start of the 2022 soccer season. The 2021 Boys Soccer Team finished with a record of 11-6, and an appearance in the sub-state finals, losing 2-1 in a heartbreaking match against Pleasant Valley. With the team only having four seniors last year, the majority of players are back and eager to make their run at a state championship. The program has been to state 12 times in their history including a stretch of 9 consecutive appearances from 2010-2018. They have even made it to a state championship game, but have yet to win one and reach the pinnacle of 4A Iowa Soccer. This year, however, the Little Hawks look to do just that.

Jose Fajardo has been the head coach of the boys team for the better part of the last 18 years and the team has clear expectations for the 2022 season. 

“I think the expectations are obviously to qualify for state and to try to win a state title. We didn’t qualify in 2019 and didn’t play in 2020. We didn’t qualify in 2021 after 10 years of qualifying in a row.”

After not qualifying for state, Coach Fajardo explained how he wants this year’s team to be different from last years.

“The biggest struggle last year was scoring and making one mistake. When we don’t score, we can’t make one mistake.”

Coach Fajardo made it very clear that there were not very many things that needed to be fixed. 

“We didn’t run harder. We have to run harder. We did not take care of the little details and we have to take care of the details. And I think that coming from the players and putting the responsibility on them is positive.”

One of the leaders and captains of the team is center back Aaron Rutherford ‘22. Rutherford was a focal part of the 2021 team and along with his teammates, is looking forward to the upcoming season. 

“Now that we’ve had a year of experience, everybody knows what they’re doing and we know how to win.” Rutherford said. “So we need to come out and win games, put together passes, cut apart teams and put some goals away. I think now everybody understands what it takes to play at the high school level, as it’s a little different than club.”

Last year’s sub-state final loss to Pleasant Valley lit a fire under the team, and Rutherford ‘22 was quick to respond with what the team is striving to achieve.

“Make it to state for sure, because we haven’t done it in the past couple of years. But then go far in state, and we want to win state as that hasn’t happened ever at City High.” Rutherford responded. 

Rutherford ‘22 is looking to play at the collegiate level next year, although he hasn’t committed.

“I’m looking to play at a Division III College. I’ve looked at a school out in Boston, a school in Chicago, and a School in Milwaukee. I’m just figuring that out right now.” Rutherford said. 

With such little turnover in roster and the sour taste of losing in the sub-state finals only one year ago, now seems like a great time for this year’s edition of the 2022 boys soccer team to make a deep run in the state tournament.