BELLEVILLE, NJ – For the young Belleville High School boys’ varsity soccer team, this season is going to be a learning experience.
Head coach Carlos Goncalves knows that his Bucs will endure some growing pains. But to Goncalves, that’s okay, because as the Bucs develop throughout the season, it’s only going to pay dividends in future seasons.
“I like the fact that we have two freshmen coming up. They are good players who can be starters,” said Goncalves, whose team lost 14 players to graduation. “I like the fact that most of the team is young. That is the advantage for the upcoming seasons.”
The two freshmen who have drawn praise from Goncalves are Lucas Fonseca, a right back, and Kevin Manjarrez, who can play left- or center-midfield.
The Bucs, who finished 6-11-2 last season, got off to a tough start to the season with a 7-1 loss to East Orange Campus in the season opener Friday, Sept. 8, in East Orange. Carlos Flores scored the goal for BHS.
Another promising freshman for the Bucs is goalie Fernando Besantez, who is currently the back-up but could start some games this season.
The starting goalie is sophomore Luis Diaz.
Sophomores Emilio Padilla and Dochio Herrera are other starters. Padilla has exceptional skills even though he is relatively small in size, Goncalves said.
The lone senior starter is striker Brandon Basantes.
Goncalves is in the process of retooling his team’s defense. Angel Ramos, a junior, has been cleared to play and will be a nice addition to the defense, Goncalves said.
Though he knows the Bucs will take their lumps, Goncalves is hoping the team can earn enough power points to earn a state tournament berth this season. And making the state tournament will do wonders for the young Bucs in their development.
The Bucs compete in the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division. The other teams in the division are East Orange Campus, Irvington, Glen Ridge, Barringer, Science Park, Golda Och Academy and Cedar Grove.
The Bucs’ next game is Sept. 13 at Irvington.
Sept. 13, at Irvington, 4 p.m.
Sept. 15, Cedar Grove, at Clearman Field, 4 p.m.
Sept. 20, at Glen Ridge
Sept. 22, Bloomfield Tech, at Clearman Field, 4 p.m.
Sept. 24, Nutley, at BHS Municipal Stadium, 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 27, at North 13th St. Tech
Sept. 29, Golda Och Academy
Oct. 1, at Technology
Oct. 4, at Barringer
Oct. 6, Science Park, at Clearman Field
Oct. 8, West Orange, at TBA, 10 a.m.
Oct. 11, Orange, at Clearman Field, Senior Night,
Oct. 13, Westwood, at Clearman Field, 4 p.m.
Oct. 15, at Montclair Kimberley, 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 17, at North Bergen, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, at Columbia, 4 p.m.
Oct. 25, at Verona, 4 p.m.
Oct. 27, River Dell, at Clearman Field, 4 p.m.