Despite an 0-4-1 overall start and an 0-2 beginning to the BVAL slate this year, Contreras is optimistic about the complete picture, stating, "We should definitely be improved this year. Right now, the playoffs are within reach of one of our goals."
One of the goals Contreras considers realistic is a winning record in league play, and recent indicators suggest that he's right.
Freedom dropped league matches to perennial powerhouse De La Salle, and fell 3-1 to Ygnacio Valley, but Contreras attributes the team's two league losses to a combination of solid opponents compounded by early-season mistakes that have since been addressed.
The Falcons began to see positive signs this past weekend, when Ricky Espindola and JJ Carter's goals brought their team within one score of tying EBAL powerhouse Monte Vista. Despite the 3-2 contest's placement in the loss column, the Falcons can point to that game as an indicator of their quick improvement, and possibly as the spark they need as they return to league play this week.
Espindola and Carter both see time on the offensive end of the field, though Espindola is valuable at a variety of positions. Another top senior is midfielder and defenseman Eric Arevalo. Juniors Fernando Gutierrez and Jorge Lopez join Arevalo on the defensive end.
Gutierrez, who has also played the last two seasons for the varsity football team, is described by Contreras as not only a physical leader, but the consummate coachable athlete, quickly and readily making necessary adjustments as directed by the coaching staff. Lopez stands as the last line of defense for the Falcons at the sweeper position.
Tending goal this season are two individuals whom Contreras considers equally competent keepers: junior Hector Munoz and freshman Nick Klein. Munoz returns for a second tour in goal, while Klein, the only freshman on this year's varsity roster, has made an instant impression on his teammates and coaches.
Another standout at this point of the season is midfielder Eddie Figueroa, another junior. Figueroa was one of Freedom's top scorers a year ago, and uses his athleticism and ball handling throughout the field.
All things considered, expect Freedom to be a much-improved squad during the 2007-08 season. The team fields only six seniors, but those seniors and numerous underclassmen have seen significant varsity action over the past two years. At the same time, the Falcons continue to find more young talent in their program, evidenced by the three sophomores and one freshman who've earned spots on this year's varsity team.
If the Falcons can find the chemistry necessary to blend their experienced upperclassmen and talented underclassmen, a winning record is sure to follow.