Eagles’ soccer team has big goals for 2018
The Hobbs boys’ soccer team is ready to take the field and improve upon its finish from last season. After back-to-back seasons of making it to, and getting eliminated in, the quarterfinals, the Eagles finally advanced to the semifinals of the NMAA state tournament.
This year the Eagles want to go further.
“We start with the end in mind,” Hobbs coach Jose Mares said. “That end is what we are shooting for. Everything else that we need to get there, needs to be done first, but that is what we are shooting for.”
With the season about to start, the Eagles played their annual alumni game on Saturday and Mares was pleased with what he saw from the team.
“In the alumni game, they looked real good,” the coach said. “They were conditioned well, very fast, and precise on the ball. It looks like it is going to be a fun season for us.”
One big change for this season is that the Eagles are changing districts. Mares believes it will benefit his team. Instead of playing in a seven-team district with five trips back and forth to Las Cruces, the Eagles will now be paired with Roswell, Carlsbad, and Clovis.
“We play a little bit more of a variety of teams,” Mares said. “It allows us to go to the other corner of New Mexico and up north as well. It is a tough schedule, but it should be good for us.”
The Eagles actually open the season today when they play on the road in Alamogordo. Hobbs lost to the Tigers last season. While the Eagles may have underestimated the Tigers last year, they won’t make the same mistake this year.
“Last year we lost to them 4-1,” Mares said. “They are the defending state champs and a very good team, a solid team. It was not our best performance, but I think from the previous years we played them, it wasn’t the same team. I think the boys will come out strong because they have something to prove.”
Hobbs opens the season with a tough stretch. The Eagles play six of their first seven games on the road, including their first five.
“This is what we do every year,” the coach said. “We are used to traveling. We are used to getting on the bus and off the bus and playing. It has been good for us and we have been doing really good in the past years, making state, making quarterfinals, and making semifinals. It is something the boys are used to.”
After the Eagles play Alamogordo today, they travel to Santa Teresa on Friday and Gadsden on Saturday. Hobbs will then go to Artesia on Tuesday, Aug. 28 before playing at Lovington on Thursday, Aug. 30. The Eagles will play their home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 4 when Alamogordo comes to town. Hobbs will then head back on the road to Las Cruces where it will play Centennial on Thursday, Sept. 6.
Lots of experience and players return to the Eagles from last season.
“We lost four seniors and two starting seniors,” Mares said. “So this year is going to be a solid team. We have lots of potential.”
One of the four seniors the Eagles lost to graduation was four-year starting goalkeeper Tristan Zambrano. Replacing Zambrano in the net will be Jaiden Terrazas and Mares has the utmost faith in his new keeper.
“He played some games for us as an eighth grader and started all the way from his freshman year to his senior year,” Mares said. “He came out hurt in the semifinal last year and Jaiden (Terrazas) was able to step in. He trained with him (last year) on a daily basis. I think he will be ready this year as a senior. I think we won’t be hurting there. I am excited for (Terrazas).
Of the eight players who accounted for all of Hobbs’ scoring last year, seven return. The Eagles top four scorers are back. Alan Sanchez led Hobbs with 11 goals while Keaton Hartman had nine. Zach Zavala scored five times and Zaid Avila put four in the back of the net. The other soccer players to return who scored are Roger Villalobos, Sergio Robles, and Giovanni Gonzalez, each of whom had one goal.
“We made a little bit of change and I think we are going to see a little bit more (scoring) this year,” Mares said.
While Mares expects everyone to step up and play their parts, the soccer coach did mention Hartman and Sanchez as players who plenty of experience and can show the younger players the way.