The boys are back on the pitch. Last week marked the beginning of competition for the 2019 boys soccer season in Colorado. For the next two and a half months, teams will take the field for at least 80 minutes at a time and try to earn the right to win state championships.
As is tradition each year, the state soccer championships will be decided in November at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the home of the Colorado Rapids.
There will be teams looking to repeat as champions and teams looking to show that their playoff runs were anything but a fluke last year. Regardless of how the season ends, each classification is looking at great storylines entering the season.Class 5A
While the leaves are set to change color in the fall, the Class 5A semifinals last year had a similar look to years past. Both Broomfield
and Grandview (Aurora)
made it back following the 2017 campaign, which saw the Eagles claim the state title.
But last year it was Arapahoe (Centennial)
winning its sixth state title in program history. The Warriors suffered some heavy losses, however, losing player of the year Cameron Gail and three other all-state players to graduation. While it's still early in the season, junior midfielder Sam Myers
is looking to make his mark as he scored twice in the season-opening win against Aurora Central.
For runner-up Grandview, it's a similar story of on-field production having been hit heavy with graduation. But senior Ivan Luna
plans moving into a more prominent role for the Wolves this year. His five goals in 2018 are best for all returning players and through one game this season, he's almost halfway to matching that total.
The Wolves beat Rangeview (Aurora)
in the second round of the 5A playoffs last year, but Rashid Seidu-Aroza is back for the Raiders. He led all 5A players in total points last season with 60 – scoring 27 goals to help boost that total – and is looking get his team a deep playoff run this fall.Boulder
is getting senior midfielder Sam Phillips
back this season. Phillips tops all returning 5A players in assists from last year, and he's hoping that he can help the Panthers end the season the way they did when he was a freshman; winning a state title.
Of course, getting out of the Front Range League is never easy considering Broomfield is always playing at a high level. The Eagles made the semifinals as the 13 seed last year and leading goal scorer Mawolo Easton
is back for his senior season.
The 5A all-state teams were loaded with seniors in 2018, but Fairview (Boulder)
keeper Carter Melton returns after earning second-team all-state honors last year.Class 4A
The road to the 4A state title continues to run through the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy as Air Academy
is the favorite heading into the fall. A big reason is the return of Thaddeus Dewing, Colorado's Gatorade Player of the Year from 2018.
Dewing comes into the year having also spent time around the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer club as his brother Austin (also an Air Academy grad) plays for the team.
"It was an awesome experience," Thad said at the Denver Broncos high school fall sports media day. "He has a lot of insight and we play the same position, so I can watch him when he plays. He's been a big help with me upping my game."
Dewing scored 27 goals last year and hopes to be even better this fall to get the Kadets their third straight state title.
It was Denver North
that the Kadets beat for the championship, and the Vikings are looking to show they're going to be a threat again in 2019. They'll just have to do it with a much younger squad. They have captain Isaac Fentress
returning from last year, a season in which he scored a couple of goals to go with an assist. Two young keepers will look to fill the void left by departing standouts. Freshman Ernesto Sandoval-Tovar
and sophomore Lukas Williams
will try to fill that gap.Glenwood Springs
wants to show that its run to the semifinals was no accident. The Demons stunned many by reaching the penultimate game of the year as the No. 20 seed in the state tournament. They get senior German Alvarado
back this season. He led the team with 17 goals last year and will be flanked by back-liner Mitchell Burt
. Battle Mountain (Edwards)
proved to be the team to beat in the Western Slope League and has first-team all-state forward Danny Barajas
back for his senior year.
Other returning first-team all-state players are Christian Nunez
and Fernando Ruiz
out of Centaurus (Lafayette)
. Burt, Jared Ramos
) and Dylan Weiss (Silver Creek (Longmont
) round out the second-team all-state players coming back in 2019.Class 3A
Defending 3A champion Kent Denver (Cherry Hills Village)
has a lot going for it heading into the year. Coming off the fourth state championship in program history the Sun Devils have Max Hewitt, Rawson Welch, Spencer Thomas and Pace Billings coming back for their senior years. They were the team's top four scorers last year. Hewitt and Matias Alberola earned first-team all-state honors last year and will both be back for the Sun Devils.
Keeper Joey Waldbaum is also back, which makes Kent Denver the definitive No. 1 team in 3A heading into the fall.
Despite losing the bulk of its scoring to graduation, Liberty Common (Fort Collins)
is looking like a contender to win its second championship in three seasons. Senior Gordy Brooks
and junior Tyler Higgins
were both heavily involved in the Eagles' offense last year and figure to take on more significant roles this season.Delta
should remain in the championship conversation thanks to senior Martin Corral
. He led 3A with 61 points a year ago and is an early player-of-the-year candidate. The Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, but Corral's season was good enough that he was voted onto the first-team all-state squad.Faith Christian (Arvada)
has the last returning first-team all-state player in Jon Randall
. Quinn Bosanko
) and Roberto Garcia
(Arrupe Jesuit (Denver
) are the second-team all-state players coming back in 2019.Class 2A
The inaugural season for the 2A classification saw Crested Butte
win its first boys soccer title. The Titans beat Telluride
in 1-0 overtime thriller. They might be down three all-state players from last year, but Gabi Marmolejo and Dagan Schwartz return with 19 combined goals to their names. Crested Butte was voted as the top 2A team coming into the season, making it a target for any team taking the pitch on the opposing side.
Runner-up Telluride wants to overcome that championship game loss and might have the chance to do that considering leading scorer Matheau Richard
will be back for his senior season. His 13 goals ranked 16th in all of 2A last year and if he builds on that number, he is capable of breaking into the top 10 this season. Also coming back for the Miners is first-team all-state defenseman Jonah Jodlowski
Experiencing success when at the 3A level, Dawson School (Lafayette)
is another team entering the year with ambitions of capturing 2A gold. Rio Sueyoshi
was the only Mustang selected to the all-state team, but there is plenty of support returning with him. Senior Jesse Isenhart
scored 15 last year and sophomore Nick Knobel
burst onto the high school scene in a big way, netting 10 goals in the Mustangs' 10-5-1 year.Fountain Valley (Colorado Springs)
junior Nick Heinz
and Heritage Christian (Fort Collins)
junior Nagi Williams round out the list of all-state players returning to action in 2019.