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2022 BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
Soccer preview

Forsyth Central

Coach: Will Gifford

Last season: 14-5-0, reached Class 7A Elite Eight

Key returners: D Andy Guzman (Sr.); D Abraham Lemus (Sr.); M Ethan Rausch (Sr.); M Ridley Watson (Sr.); GK Keegan Williford (Jr.)

Key newcomers: D John Hearn (Jr.); M Pablo Velarde (Jr.); M Lucas Oliveria (Jr.); D Cody Parkhurst (Jr.); D Ryan Vincent (Jr.)

What to know: The 2021 season was one to remember for Forsyth Central's boys soccer team, as the Bulldogs captured the program's first region championship and advanced to the Class 7A Elite Eight for the first time. Central graduated 10 players from that team, but the Bulldogs are already up to No. 2 in Class 7A, according to the first poll of the season. Central's strength this season appears to be its defense, which features returning starters Andy Guzman and Abraham Lemus, as well newcomers John Hearn and Cody Parkhurst. Ethan Rausch and Ridley Watson will patrol the midfield, while Keegan Williford emerged as the county's top keeper last year.

Denmark

Coach: Brett Godwin

Last season: 13-7-0, reached Class 7A Final Four

Key returners: GK David Gad (Sr.); GK Austin Bender (Jr.); D Colin Ralph (Sr.); D Sebastian Zabala (Sr.); D Rob Huetter (Sr.); M Juan Garcia (Sr.); M Jacob Pelletier (Sr.); F Camden Barnett (Jr.); F Jonathan Kobby (Sr.); F Sam Del Cid (Jr.); D Ivan Kobby (So.)

Key newcomers: D Nikhai Tonwar (Jr.); M Alex Ashman (Sr.); M Beltran Loeches (Jr.); F Caleb Floyd (Sr.); D Arya Akbarshahi (Jr.); M Caiden Mueller (Jr.); F Jordan Korhone (So.); M Nico Solorzano (Fr.); F Landon Kuhl (So.)

What to know: Denmark's first season in Class 7A ended with the Danes reaching the Final Four. Denmark proved it can compete with the top teams in the state, and head coach Brett Godwin calls this group of players the Danes' most experienced group in school history. Senior sensation Dolapo Morakinyo graduated, but a mix of Camden Barnett, Jonathan Kobby and Sam Del Cid will aim to replicate that production. David Gad and Austin Bender will see time in goal, while Colin Ralph, Sebastian Zabala, Rob Huetter and Ivan Kobby will anchor the back line.

East Forsyth

Coach: Chere Thomas

Last season: N/A

Key returners: N/A

Key newcomers: M/F Jimmy Varga (Jr.); M/F Braydon Oakley (Jr.); M Evan Carroll (Jr.); D/M Orlando Gama

What to know: East Forsyth might be a first-year program, but the Broncos are under the direction of state champion coach Chere Thomas, who guided South Forsyth's boys soccer team to the Class 7A state championship in 2021. Thomas said the Broncos' main priority is establishing team chemistry. Juniors Jimmy Varga, Braydon Oakley, Evan Carroll and Orlando Gama will spearhead that task in the Broncos' first season.

Lambert

Coach: Chris Wilson

Last season: 17-4-1, reached Class 7A state championship

Key returners: W Colin Vogel (Sr.); W Mason Keith (Sr.); M Chase Bell (Sr.); M Diego Nogales (Sr.); M Nicholas Trinh (Sr.); D Connor Coniglio (Sr.); GK Liam Leja (Sr.)

Key newcomers: D Mason Bell (Fr.); M Eric Wrensen (So.); M Philip Head (So.)

What to know: Lambert boasts a senior-heavy squad this season, with half of the Longhorns' 22 players playing in their final high school season. Lambert reached the Class 7A state championship in 2021, falling to region foe South Forsyth, but the Longhorns have the experience to be right back in the mix. Colin Vogel and Mason Keith return at win, while midfielders Chase Bell, Diego Nogales and Nicholas Trinh are all seniors. Connor Coniglio was voted the team's defensive MVP last season, while keeper Liam Leja allowed just six goals and posted 11 shutouts last season.

North Forsyth

Coach: Brandon Stewart

Last season: 12-6-0, missed Class 7A playoffs

Key returners: M/F Michael Silva (Sr.); CB Dylan Sanfillippo (Sr.); GK Ean Hall (Sr.); RB Ryan Murphy (Sr.); CB Fernando Rangel-Castro (So.); W Carlos Moncada (Sr.) 

Key newcomers: Camden Tidwell (So.); Brody Surguy (Fr.); Austin Chavarria (Fr.)

What to know: There's an air of optimism surrounding North Forsyth's boys soccer team after the Raiders finished 12-6 in 2021, which was head coach Brandon Stewart's first year at the helm. North won its first region match in nine seasons and even broke into the Class 7A top 10 at one point in the season. The Raiders return a handful of key players, including senior Michael Silva, who led the offense with 10 assists last season, adding seven goals. Stewart said the team's goals are to get younger players experience, match last year's win total and reach the playoffs.

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Domenic Martelli

Last season: 7-11, reached Class 1A Private Sweet 16

Key returners: M Colin Brown (Sr.); M Tom Palaez (Sr.); D Mike Kutter (Sr.); D Miles Bradjic (Sr.); GK Evan Kane (Sr.); M Pat Flannigan (Sr.); F Sebastian Santa Maria (Sr.)

Key newcomers: F Christian Sobb (Jr.)

What to know: Pinecrest Academy captured the Region 6-1A Private championship last season, but the Paladins stumbled in the Sweet Sixteen to Providence Christian, 2-1. However, Pinecrest returns a host of talent, including all-state selections Evan Kane and Colin Brown, who was the region player of the year. The Paladins also return forward Tom Palaez, who scored six goals and tallied seven assists, and defender Michael Kutter, who was a first-team all-region selection and helped lead Pinecrest's defense to four shutouts.

South Forsyth

Coach: Luke Wagner

Last season: 15-3, won Class 7A state championship

Key returners: M Gavin Williams (Sr.); D Christian Carlton (Sr.); D Noah Park (Sr.); Sunny Inakollu (Sr.); F Dino Stavros (Jr.); Dylan Xu (Jr.); M Nolan Williams (So.)

Key newcomers: M Matthew Carrico (Jr.); M Tyler Vogt (So.); D Carter Weems (Fr.); Landon Dennis (Fr.)

What to know: The reigning Class 7A state champions don't expect to take much of a step back in 2022, with several starters returning at key positions. Gavin Williams returns at midfield, as does Nolan Williams, who head coach Luke Wagner believes "is the most defensively skilled player that has come through South in my five years here." Christian Carlton and playoff hero Dino Stavros will also captain the War Eagles. Wagner said South had four freshman make the team this season, which certainly bodes well for the War Eagles' sustained success.

West Forsyth

Coach: Kelley Morawsky

Last season: 8-7-2, missed Class 7A playoffs

Key returners: M Oskar Bringle (Sr.); D Thad Harp (Sr.); D Reid Campbell (Sr.); M Christos Kaloudis (Sr.); M Nick Fresquez (Sr.)

Key newcomers: F Aiden Abunassar (So.); M Lucas Campos (So.)

What to know: West Forsyth is under the direction of first-year head coach Kelley Morawsky, who said the team is working to hold each other to a high standard. Morawsky has a few returning starters to work with, including a group of five seniors in midfielders Oskar Bringle, Christos Kaloudis and Nick Fresquez, in addition to defenders Thad Harp and Reid Campbell. Morawsky also listed forward Aiden Abunassar and midfielder Lucas Campos as two sophomore who will have an impact this season.