By René Ferrán | Photo by Taylor Balkom
A look at some of the top returning players and teams to watch in Class 3A/2A/1A Oregon high school boys soccer
State: Catlin Gabel (17-0)
Districts: Catlin Gabel (6-0 District 1); Dayton (14-4 District 2); Pleasant Hill (9-0 District 3); Brookings-Harbor (6-0 District 4); St. Mary’s (Medford) and Rogue Valley Adventist Academy (5-1 District 5); Riverside (8-0 District 6)
Teams to watch
The Eagles have won the past three titles and four of the past five, losing in the 2017 final, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t contend for another spot in the championship match. Yes, they graduated 3A/2A/1A player of the year Felipe Rueda Duran and fellow first-team all-state picks Elijah Widdows and Joshua Hamlett, but they bring back three starting defenders (Raul Rendon, Maxim Kim and George Pritchard) along with GK Ansel Wallace.
The Pirates last season made the state final for the first time in program history behind two first-team all-state seniors, Benji Hudson and Daniel Anguiano. Dayton also played five freshmen and a sophomore who got significant action throughout the season and will now look to get the program that elusive first title.
The Pioneers won their first Greater Oregon League title since 2017 and reached the 4A quarterfinals last season. Reclassification dropped them to 3A, where junior F Angel Castillo (last year’s GOL player of the year with 26 goals and 12 assists) and five other all-GOL selections return.
The Aardvarks have made the state final three times since winning the last of their six state titles in 2014. They made the semifinals last season. They graduated three all-state selections in Connor Mansfield (28 goals, 19 assists), Jonathan Segal and Patrick Ruoff, but like their archrival, Catlin Gabel, they always seem to reload, not rebuild — they have won 10 or more games in 13 of the past 16 full seasons.
The Valiants hope to continue their recent success — four consecutive Cowapa League titles following five years with three or fewer wins — after dropping to 3A. They graduated seven all-league picks, including Cowapa co-player of the year Charles Bettger (11 goals, nine assists, now at Yavapai College in Arizona), and will join an already loaded district with Catlin Gabel, Oregon Episcopal and Riverdale.
Players to watch
Angel Castillo, McLoughlin, junior; Brady Housley, Westside Christian, junior; Chris Kranenburg, St. Mary’s (Medford), junior; Yejun Choi, St. Mary’s (Medford), junior; Ben Lee, St. Mary’s (Medford), junior; Jesus Moreno, Lakeview, senior; Memo Cervantes, Delphian, junior; Felix Navarro, Gervais, junior; Adrian Arellano, Pleasant Hill, senior; Santiago Figueroa, Central Linn, senior; Cohen Elrod, South Umpqua, sophomore; Josh Serna, Brookings-Harbor, senior; Cole Crossen, Banks, senior.
Andrew O'Dell, Western Christian, junior; Bren Schneiter, Central Linn, senior; Bryan Sedano, Central Linn, senior; Max Velarde, Creswell, senior; Alex Chen, Oregon Episcopal, senior; George Pritchard, Catlin Gabel, senior; Graysen Voss, Banks, senior; Cruz Mendola, Banks, senior; Owen Yamaguchi, Corbett, junior; Tate Kaczmarek, Sisters, senior; Stephen Lauby, North Valley, junior; Almikar Garcia, McLoughlin, junior; Sean Molina, McLoughlin, junior; Romario Garcia, McLoughlin, junior; Jose Gomez, McLoughlin, junior; Bren Schneitter, Central Linn, senior; Spencer Lovell, Riverdale, junior; Leo Cronk, St. Mary’s (Medford), junior; Riley Reinikka, Valley Catholic, junior; Daniel Withers, Umpqua Valley Christian, junior; Dylan Middleton, Gold Beach, senior; Victor Mena, Lakeview, senior; Owen Jones, Catlin Gabel, junior.
Leo Nambo, Dayton, senior; Braeden Carter, Oregon Episcopal, senior; Drew Klopcic, Valley Catholic, sophomore; Anders Nielsen, Riverdale, senior; Ian Vanderlip, Pleasant Hill, senior; Coen Schneiter, Central Linn, sophomore; Raul Rendon, Catlin Gabel, junior; Maxim Kim, Catlin Gabel, senior; Ronaldo Bueno, Nyssa, senior; Gabriel Ortega, Nyssa, senior.
Danny Gonzalez, McLoughlin, sophomore; Aaron Wilson, Rogue Valley Adventist, junior; Jackson Brose, Gold Beach, senior; Juan Medina, Riverside, junior; Orlando Perfecto Salgado, Nyssa, senior; Carlos Arredondo, Lakeview, junior; Ansel Wallace, Catlin Gabel, senior.