Tigard takes high hopes into its first Three Rivers season

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - BACK AT TIGARD -- Cesar Contreras (2), shown here in a state playoff match from last year, is one of the key returnees for the Tigard High School boys soccer team this season. TIGARD — Tigard High School boys soccer coach Tracy Hasson doesn’t need very many words to describe his team’s outlook for the 2014 campaign.

“Going to be fun,” he said.

And you can’t really blame Hasson, and the Tigers, for having a joyous attitude going into the season.

After all, Tigard has a strong group of returning players back from last year’s squad that shared the Pacific Conference championship at 4-1-2 while going 7-5-2 on the season.

Among those returnees is senior defender Joseph Lea, who was an All-Pacific Conference honorable mention pick last year.

Lea is one of seven returning seniors for the Tigers this season.

The others are midfielder Jake O’Brien, midfielder Clint Raye, defender Cam Van Sant, defender Sinan Raja, forward Alex Figueroa and midfielder/forward Cedar Contreras.

Hasson is looking for those seniors to play a key role.

“I expect a lot our of the seniors this season,” he said. “They have been around me for three years now, and have a good understanding of our system. I preach to them that leadership comes from everyone.”

Other varsity returnees for the Tigers include junior midfielder Brandon Pliego, junior forward Alberto Gonzalez, sophomore forward Paco Ramirez, sophomore midfielder Joe Campbell and sophomore midfielder Romo Calderon.

Photo Credit: DAN BROOD - KEEPING CONTROL -- Jake O'Brien (left) is another key returnee for the Tigard boys soccer team this season.Newcomers to the Tigard varsity roster include junior goalkeeper Pedro Simonetti, freshman midfielder Miguel Vegard, junior forward Alex Lara, senior forward Yussef Fakih, junior midfielder Damian Ochoa, freshman midfielder Tanner Spanu, freshman midfielder Thomas Forsythe and senior goalkeeper Tyler Mills.

“We have a lot of technically gifted players,” Hasson said. “The question will be our ability to deal with bigger, stronger teams. Not worried about the run of play, but set pieces can always present problems.”

Tigard, along with rival Tualatin, Newberg and Sherwood, will be joining the Three Rivers League this year. West Linn, which beat Tigard 3-0 in a non-league match last year, is the defending TRL champion, having gone 10-0 in league play a year ago while also reaching the semifinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

“The league would appear to be strong,” Hasson said of this year’s edition of the Three Rivers League. “Some very good programs are coming into the Three Rivers. How we fare is a story waiting to be told. Any given day, anyone can beat anyone. We strive to compete and focus on the little things. If we can do that, then we have as good a chance as anyone.”

Today (Thursday), Tigard will play in a jamboree starting at 10 a.m. at Beaverton High School.

The Tigers will open their regular-season schedule Sept. 4 when they host Hood River Valley in a non-league contest starting at 7 p.m. at Tigard High School.

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