To start the 50th season, the Riverside Coras Football Club held its 2019 introductory press conference at La Casa Ortega. The conference room was packed with loyal fans, players and media members from within the city. It was the perfect start to the new year.
Didn’t get a chance to catch it on Facebook live or in person? Check it here:
Want to be a part of our historic season? The Coras are looking for more volunteers to help make this year the biggest year in Coras history. The club is looking for a graphic artist and any fan willing to contribute to the game day experience. If interested email Steven@Riversidecorasfc.com or fill out the form here.
Still need to purchase your season tickets? Click here
You are all invited to the Riverside Coras Football Club’s 2019 introductory press conference. The press conference will take place on December 29th, 2018 at La Casa Ortega ( 1690 Spruce St., Riverside, CA, 92507) . This press conference is open to the public and we encourage all of our fans, friends and family to be a part of this historic occasion.
During this event we will have interviews with various special guests. New head coach and general manager Shane Shelton will be taking questions and discussing his vision for this season and the future.
After, all fans will have a chance to meet the players, take photos and get autographs. Season tickets will also be available for purchase.
If you are a media member and would like to be available to ask questions please fill out the form below or email Steven@Riversidecorasfc.com with your information.
We are Riverside’s premier soccer club and we look forward to sharing our vision with the community.
Tryouts, The beginning of all lower league soccer seasons. This was no different for the Coras who hosted 40+ talented local players looking to take their soccer career to the next level. New head coach/ general manager Shane Shelton, along with his long time teammate and assistant coach Jimmy Ross, watched these players play it out for over two hours and trimmed down the selection. Coach Shelton wants the opportunity to look at majority of these players during a real training session, as he continues to mold the squad to his liking. When asked what he was looking for, Coach Shelton replied “everything.” It is still unclear who will make the cut for the 2019 season, but all the necessary steps are being taken to create the right local roster.
The Riverside Coras Football Club looks forward to developing the right roster over the next few weeks. Season starts early February and The Coras will be preparing to win the conference and represent our community at the NPSL playoffs.
We at the Coras Organization would like to welcome our newest staff member Catherine Upson ( https://www.instagram.com/c_p_images/ ) . As we enter our 50th season, Catherine will be help show the nation and our community the beautiful game within Riverside,CA.
How did you get involved in soccer photography?
I started shooting soccer as a soccer mom when my son started playing soccer with Riverside AYSO Region 47. As he progressed in the sport, so did my photography. Almost 12 years later, we have both learned a lot.
What is your favorite part of shooting the beautiful game?
I love capturing the passion and intensity the players show for the game.
How long have you been a citizen of Riverside, CA?
I have lived in Riverside for 32 years. We moved to here in 1986 when my dad was reassigned to March AFB.
What do you want to show the Riverside soccer community with your photography?
I would like for people to see the passion and talent that is growing within Riverside for the sport of soccer.
What excites you about working with the Coras during their 50th season?
I am excited to be a part of the club this year because they are committed to growing the soccer community here in Riverside and highlighting our city and players on the national level through the NPSL.
The NPSL off-season is long and at times boring. We had to withdraw from the Riverside County Cup, due to our coach/ team manager having heart surgery (don’t worry he’s better now) and that has made it hard for us to try to find ways to keep ourselves occupied. Well we did some reflection, deep reflection, on the concept of local soccer. We reminded ourselves that the Inland Empire is a hotbed for soccer talent and that extends to our various local universities.
I know college soccer is weird and different like with rules like: unlimited subs, regular season games having sudden death overtime, only conference games matter in the season and teams sometimes play 2 games a week, similar English second tier. Many of our Coras have risen through the various Riverside County college systems and we believe that all Riverside local soccer matters.
Here are a couple of tables to reflect some of this season’s information. Keep in mind a team’s conference record doesn’t matter for this table.
Men’s unofficial best riverside college 2018
Highest finish in conference?
NCAA 1st round
Men’s top goal scorer *
Here is a short review on each of these colleges:
Cal State University San Bernardino
CSUSB is under the leadership of Darren Leslie since 2014. One word to describe their season is consistency. A total of nine clean sheets and most wins won by two or more goals. The Coyotes had the best regular season in the area and advanced to the CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association) playoffs, where they fell to Cal Poly Pomona 1-0 in the final game. The first half was all Cal Poly. They kept possession in their defensive half and didn’t allow the Coyotes to gain any ground. In the 61st minute Cal Poly scored the first goal. It came from a cross from the left-wing and the attacker Castillo headed it in from close range.
Cal Baptist University
Next is Cal Baptist who I believe had the best live stream coverage of all the local colleges. Coach Coe Michaelson and the Lancers had an up and down start to the season . The biggest highlight was having the top goal scorer in the team scoring two hat tricks in the first three matches. It wasn’t until they faced UC Riverside in the Riverside College Derby, where they lost 2-1 via a golden goal penalty . That loss sparked a four game losing streak for the Lancers, during which they only scored one goal. CBU attacker Preston Judd went on to be the top goal scorer in the NCAA with 15 goals in the season. Judd is a tall striker ( 6’3”) who is skillful with his feet and has the speed to find balls sent into the open channels. One of his best goals this season, he nut megged a poor San Jose State defender and hits a low strike on the keeper’s near post. His play style suits CBU’s direct and quick style of play.
La Sierra University
For La Sierra University, they play in NAIA ( The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) which is a different beast from the NCAA. Long time coach Jesse Olivas had a real roller coaster of a season, particularly with their various score lines. The team lost games by huge margins: 0-4, 1-4, 1-5 and the largest loss of 0-9. While the Golden Eagles had a few big losses, they also had a way with winning via big margins. Some games ended 5-0, 6-1, 6-0 and 8-1. They failed to advance to the playoffs, missing qualification by one spot.
Some context about Norco college, 3 of our Coras U-19 players are in the squad: Adrian Diaz, Edson Espinoza and Jamie Luna. Technically Norco college isn’t within Riverside city limits, but it is a part of the band of Riverside Community Colleges. This means RCC students who want to play collegiate soccer, play with Norco college. The team started out the season winning their first four out of five matches, then losing the remainder of their matches.
University of California Riverside
Finally, we get to the history making UCR highlanders. They field some of our first team players like Yosimar Hernandez (who had a 1-week tryout at Club America) and Dusan Keca. With Tim Cupello as head coach, the highlanders won the Big West championship for the first time in school history. Coming back in 2010 as an assistant coach, he went on to become interim head coach in 2013 when Junior Gonzalez went on to join the Chivas USA staff. In 2014 Cupello was named head coach. This season Tim Cupello focused on gaining results through their conference. They started the season with an eight game win-less streak and it wasn’t until they beat their crosstown rivals CBU that the Highlanders earned their first victory.
During the Big West playoffs UCR played hard, they were going to win and it wasn’t going to be pretty. They beat Cal State Fullerton after a 99th minute penalty to advance to the Big West Final. In the final vs UC Davis, the Highlanders kept possession and created chances through both wings, but it was snuffed out by the tall UCD keeper. The match would stay even at 0-0 for 90 minutes plus extra time. The Highlanders would go on to win in penalties 4-2. Daniel Castaneda would score the final penalty and the fans rushed the field, cheering for their side.
In their first ever D1 NCAA playoff game they faced a big challenge against Pacific University. The Highlanders couldn’t find a route to goal and eventually would lose 1-0.
The Coras believe that local soccer far extends past any national or regional league. It doesn’t need the title of “Pro” or “Amatuer” . Local soccer can be a high school game or even a college one. At the end of the day all you need is some friends, a ball and a field.
Due to unforeseen circumstances The Riverside Coras Football Club will no longer be able to compete in the second annual Riverside County Cup. We at the Coras believe that the Riverside County Cup is essential to growing the game within our community. We believe that this years competition will be a vital step in the further development of soccer within Riverside County.
We would like address a few questions our fans may have about our current situation.
What are the reasons that the Riverside Coras FC can no longer compete in the Riverside County Cup?
Couple of reasons. First Our Team Manager, Jose Esqueda, had a heart attack at work which led to him having emergency heart surgery. His health and recovery is our number one priority. For this reason the team was not able to regroup and train for the County Cup.
Another reason is field availability. It is difficult to find a soccer field to train twice a week in the evening during youth club season.
What improvements are being made in preparation for the 2019 season?
We are in contact with the City of Riverside, speaking with Council member Andy Melendrez and seeking support from our city. We have a couple of projects that are being discussed, but can not give specifics at this time. A training field is on top of the list.
Message to our fans
We are very grateful for the support of our great fans, Mayor Bailey and Council member Andy Melendrez who have been supportive our club since day one and who continue to be supportive of our future. We have the best and most loyal fans in the Inland Empire and we are looking forward to bringing the highest level of soccer to our community. This coming season our fans will see new and exciting pro talent. We are looking to sign 2-3 pro players this coming season.
To our loyal and faithful fans, we will be having our “2019 Season Pass” for $25 during the month of November! (Limited amount sold) 100 available at this price.
Robert Lopez-Guardado and the Riverside Coras FC staff
Like many other stories, this one started with a tweet:
Well, we indeed missed a few. As the replies started pouring, we quickly realized the depth of soccer talent in the Inland Empire. The I.E. is a hot bed for competitive local sports and with a population of over four million, it’s easy to understand the region’s potential in talent development.
Soccer is all throughout the Inland Empire. You have the various academies throughout each city, with one of the highest quality youth tournaments happening at the Silverlakes Sports Complex in Corona, CA. Colleges like Cal Baptist University and UC Riverside have contributed to the development of MLS talents Aaron Long of the NY Red Bulls and Micheal Salazar of the Montreal Impact ( on loan at Ottawa Fury FC) . And of course some of my favorite local UPSL and NPSL action from clubs such as Inland Empire FC, High Desert FC, and Riverside Coras FC.
For the purposes of this article, I defined I.E. as both Riverside and San Bernardino County.
So let’s check out some players:
Carlos Bocanegra: Alta Loma
This USMNT legend has been capped 110 times, while appearing in two World Cups. He played in college at UCLA and went on to play professionally in MLS and in Europe, most notably at Fulham FC.
Ted Chronopoulos: Rialto
Ted played three years of college soccer at Cal State San Bernardino and San Diego State. He signed his first professional contract in 1993 for Greek club Panionios and went on to play over a decade throughout MLS and USL.
Landon Donovan: Ontario
Arguably the countries greatest ever male player. He played in three World Cups, was capped 157 times and is the all-time leading goal scorer, at 57, tied with Clint Dempsey. While Landon played professionally in Germany at an early age, he found himself at home in MLS, where he helped shine a light on a growing league.
Brian Dunseth: Upland
Captain of the 2000’s US olympic team and professional in MLS and Sweden. Brian has embraced the media side and has become a well-known soccer analyst.
Maurice Edu: Fontana
MLS Rookie of the Year in 2007, capped 46 times with the USMNT and had professionally career throughout Europe. After his standout rookie season, Edu earned a transfer to the legendary Scottish club, Rangers Football Club, where he appeared 96 times.
Joe Franchino: Fontana
Joe attended Cal State Fullerton and transferred to the University of Washington. After he was drafted by the LA Galaxy. He went on to play majority of his career with New England Revolution.
Ari Lassiter: Temecula
A current member of the LA Galaxy who plays for both the first team and LA Galaxy II “Los Dos” of the USL. He played college soccer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and started his professional career in Sweden.
Aaron Long: Oak Hills
A graduate from UC Riverside, Long signed with the Portland Timbers in the 2014 MLS Superdraft. He began to work his way through USL, to the New York Red Bulls and a recent call-up to the USMNT.
Richie Marquez: Bloomington
Richie graduated from the University of Redlands and was taken in the 2014 MLS Superdraft, by the Philadelphia Union. Currently he is on loan with the Union affiliate, Bethlehem Steel.
Quite possibly the greatest ever MLS defender. Marshall has won two MLS Cups, four supporter’s shields, the U.S. Open Cup and achieved multiple individual honors.
Lee Nishanian: Rancho Cucamonga
Attended Cal State San Bernadino and went on to play with multiple clubs within the USL.
Jesus Ochoa: Riverside
One of three brothers who became professional soccer players. The oldest brother, Jesus, attended Cal Baptist University and turned pro in 2001 when he signed with the Portland Timbers ( USL first division). He spent time in Mexico, as well as MLS.
Samuel Ochoa: Riverside
Currently Samuel plays for the Las Vegas Lights FC (USL), but has had a journeyman like career, playing with multiple clubs in Mexico and the United States.
Norberto Ochoa: Riverside
The youngest of the three professionals, Norberto, had a short professional career. He attended Mt. SAC, spent time in Europe and attended UC Riverside his senior year. He went on to play for Charlotte Independence (USL)
Michael Randolph: Chino Hills
Mike played college soccer in Arizona until he joined the Portland Timbers (USL first division) in 2006. From there he went on to play at multiple MLS and USL clubs.
Ante Razov: Fontana
This legendary MLS goal-scorer, is fifth on the all time scoring list with 114 goals. Before his legendary career he played at UCLA and was drafted by the LA Galaxy. He is currently the assistant coach at LAFC.
Nick Rimando: Montclair
Another MLS all-time great! This goalkeeper attended UCLA, with Bocanegra, and has gone on to have an amazing MLS career. Not only a great shot-stopper, but skilled with the ball on his feet. His unique skill set kept him intertwined with the USMNT for many years.
Michael Salazar: Moreno Valley
This Belize international attened Cal Baptist University and UC Riverside , before being drafted by the Montreal Impact in 2016. Currently he is on loan at Ottawa Fury FC.
Ethan Zubak: Corona
Ethan worked his way through the LA Galaxy academy and has been playing with LA Galaxy II since 2015.
We know we still missed a few and even more professionals are in the making. The important thing to notice is the potential within our community. Each player showed a different route to make it into the professional ranks. Supporting a community club helps develop more routes for players to work up within our closed system. So get out and find your local club whether its high school, college, NPSL, UPSL or just a team at the park. Who knows, maybe you’ll be witnessing the next USMNT legend.
Ambition. For players in the game, reaching the highest level is the ultimate dream. It starts in steps, but you continuously improve yourself always striving for the highest level, the ultimate goal. Paths are different for each individual, but if they wish to achieve that desired success they will need ambition. A few Coras have continued on their journey towards that ultimate goal. Some currently on trial, while others have already signed and are living abroad.
Omar is currently trialing at Merida AD, in the Spanish Tercera divsion ( regional league considered to be the fourth level of Spanish Football.) Omar did not see the field till mid-season but started to become a main stay at the right-back position. He tallied a total of 216 minutes, but had his season cut short after receiving a concussion against FC Arizona. Omar’s size helped control and win majority of aerial duels in the defensive third. A few Southwestern clubs like to play through the left-wing, and always had trouble with a battling Omar Aguilar.
Yoshi is currently trialing at Club America, of Liga MX. Yoshi, in my opinion, is the best wing-back in the NPSL. His ability to receive the ball in open space and then turn to dribble at defenders, set him apart from all defenders, even some attackers. Due to the college season, Yoshi was only able to play half the season ( six matches), but managed to clock-in every minute of those appearances. His dynamic playstyle helped the Coras make a run towards the playoffs, he even scored a couple of goals. Not bad for a defender.
It looks like the Coras will have a new starting keeper next year, because this one is off to Germany. Lara played a total of 946 minutes last season, and left at half-time of FC AZ, after battling a nagging injury. Lara will be joined by defender Jose Perez at 1. FCA 04 Darmstadt, a club in the Kreisoberliga ( a county league, in the seventh division of the German Football Association.)
“I was referred by a fellow teammate. Coming here , he put in a really good word for me. I’m grateful to have the kind of friends that can help you out, especially wanting to pursue a dream like playing in Europe. Hopefully this is the beginning of something big. You can go up divisions from here, and I’m hoping to get to the highest division possible.” -Alonso Lara
Jose was a staple in defense. He was a reactive defender who could cover ground, which helped eliminate many counter-attacking attempts. As the season progressed he began to show his versatility, allowing for tactical adjustments in game. This became common practice as Yoshi and other attacking wing-backs entered the system.
Passion for the game leads us in many different ways. Some fans create or join a supporters group, some become journalists ( thinking emoji) and some even create their own teams. A few of our players have taken that passion to the next playing level, but one harnessed that passion differently.
Shortly after the 2018 season ended, midfield maestro Eric Gonzalez got his first coaching job at Jurupa Valley High School. “ Ever since I got out of college soccer in 2015, I figured I was going to get into coaching or reffing” he said when he spoke of his route to the new job. As he continued to play, climbing the levels, he was cut by a professional team. “ Since then I decided it was time to take a different route.”
Eric has been busy trying to change his High School’s soccer program. He treats his players like professionals, while still allowing them to express themselves on the field. The players have responded well, currently JVHS has been playing in the summer to prepare for the winter season. The team is currently 2-0 and playing a good brand of soccer.
“I’ve been working for a month now and have been doing double sessions with [the team] on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. I worked with a lot of technique, passing and playing with intensity or a game like situation. I force them to play as a team.” -Eric Gonzalez
Ambition and passion are two very essential components needed to be a competitor. Ambition keeps you training when all of your teammates leave. Passion makes you want to learn, develop and even master the art. These players paths have transformed this off season, but their ambition and passion will continue lead them towards a brighter future.
So the NPSL Southwestern Conference season is over and the results have been tallied up:
On Saturday, June 30th, Orange County FC hosted FC Arizona, in a play-in round for the final playoff spot allocated to the Southwestern Conference. Orange County would end up winning 3-0 against fourth place FC Arizona. Watching the competition play this year, gives me hope that all three clubs (ASC San Diego, FC Golden State and Orange County FC) will represent and highlight some of the great local soccer occurring in our region. Just take a look at this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, FC Golden State Force (sister club to conference rival FC Golden State) made it to the fourth round, where they lost to MLS side, Los Angeles Galaxy. Looking back on the season: I think of my favorite matches, how we played, different starting lineups we could play, but most importantly all of the interactions I was able to have with people who just loved the game as much as I do.
This season was a roller coaster for us. It was heartbreaking seeing the talent that we have, in the Inland Empire, and not making the playoffs.
Jose “Chepe” Esqueda
5th place, definitely not Riverside’s target for the season, but as our Social Media Admin Salvador likes to say “ atleast we did better than Temecula.” NPSL Southwestern talent was strong this year with players like Sean Callahan of ASC San Diego, Cesar Mexia Casillas of FC Arizona, Cody Shelton of Orange County FC, and so many other players that have shown their ability to perform at this level. The next step is getting all of these talented players an opportunity to play against stronger opposition, a chance to put their skills to the test and make them better players.
It’s no secret that U.S. Soccer is a closed system, meaning once a team proves their quality within their current division/ level, they can’t earn promotion to a new division/ level. One example of how the current system rewards performance, are playoffs. Playoffs call for that do-or-die mentality; when everything is on the line can you perform. Unfortunately, fans will have to continue to wait for pro/rel, but organizations should continue to think of innovative ways to help further develop their players.
Friendlies have been a way for teams to challenge cross-league rivals or even clubs from another country. Riverside Coras have hosted three friendlies this year: Toros Neza USA (UPSL), Valley FC (SoCal Premier) and Club Tijuana Reserves (Liga MX). Each of these friendlies have given opportunities to new talent within the squad. Toros Neza USA, a pre-season friendly that allowed all of the new collected talent, a chance to build some much needed chemistry. Valley FC saw an academy player step up and play in two matches. This last friendly against the Xolos u20s gave players like Emilio Huerta and Promise Adebayo-Ige, who came in late during the season, a moment to shine and prove their worth.
The center defensive midfielder, the number six, the pivot, the most important position for most teams in the Southwest. Offensively, teams will try to play through the wide channels; giving their wingers the ball in space, on the break or allowing them to attack a defender one-on-one. Passing horizontally, through the pivot, has been essential tactic for finding these chances; Luis Cardona (ASC San Diego) and Eric Gonzalez ( Riverside Coras) have both been great examples of this.
For the majority of the season Riverside would play with three central midfielders: Eric Gonzalez/ Shane Shelton as the #6 (center defensive mid), Hugo Gutierrez would act as the pure #8 (box-to-box) and Shane Shelton/ Romario Lomeli as the #10 ( playmaker). The central defensive midfielder’s role was to shore up the gap, in front of the consistently overlapping backline, then finding the long diagonal runs from the wingers/ wing backs. If those options weren’t available, the midfield partners would help move the ball through the center of the pitch. The combination of the three allowed for playmaking from a deeper position, aggressive center mids who can close down teams trying to build through the middle, all while allowing play to be recycled back to the deep-lying playmaker.
Coras attacking strength lied in the wings, specifically the left side. Since the introduction of Yosimar Hernandez ( left back who has played collegiality with UCR) the Coras have had an extra attacking threat. Yoshi’s pace, dribbling and awareness of open space allows him to either overlap his wing partner ( looking for the cross or pass back to retain possession) or under lap ( dribbling in towards the box looking for the assist or shot on goal.)
In the last couple games of the season, I began to notice a defensive scheme that was being utilized to help with the space that had been vacated by Yoshi.
Lets look at the backline:
Promise and Jimmy are predominately fullbacks, while Jose is the more traditional defender. When Yoshi leaves to attack, the remaining three defenders shift over. Promise and Jimmy can cover the vacated space, close down on the ball and then transition to attack. Jose’s size and strength helps him shut down the direct ball, while his positioning helps mark off attacking zones. For Riverside, these tactics didn’t start to blossom till the end of the year, which helps strengthen the desire of an extended season. Currently the NPSL season is only twelve matches plus playoffs. A growing player needs competitive minutes; when you only play for three months out of the year, you can’t properly develop and practice your skill.
Even with a small season, it led to plenty of great moments on the field. The Coras opened the season against our biggest rivals, Temecula FC. The match would be a fight for 90 minutes on the pitch and in the stands. Fans dueled it out with shouts and cheers while the two teams traded goals. That match got me excited for the season. I wanted to see Riverside get that second chance at beating Temecula, and on May fifth, the Coras would do just that.
As the season continued to roll on and Riverside began to click tactically, they faced a first place FC Golden State; this would be new head coach Robert Vidrio’s biggest test to date. Riverside would lose 3-1 but controlled majority of the match, losing to late-half mistakes. Even as a loss this was one of my favorite matches of the year; this was when I, and other Coras fans, would discover Shane’s dominance in the air and the emergence of the best wingback in the NPSL, Yosimar Hernandez.
The season would end on a high-note, drawing third place Orange County FC 3-3. With the playoffs out of reach, Riverside would have to suit up for pride and for Riverside. For all of our matches I tend to take thorough game notes, but this match up was different. I just wanted to see the Coras play through each half without conceding a goal in the final moments, that was our kryptonite. Forty-fourth minute hits and Riverside had been controlling the match to that point , but OCFC had the ball and they were attacking. It seemed like an eternity as Orange County continued to take attempts on goal. That whistle would blow and the Coras stood their ground.
I think our last four games we finally started to put it together. I think it just took us longer than we would like for us to finally get ourselves organized, get the structure we wanted and get the chemistry with all the boys. At the end of the day we are happy the way the season ended , as far as leaving it off on the right foot. But, we are obviously disappointed to not make the playoffs.
Covering Riverside soccer has been about much more than the Coras. It’s about getting in touch with grassroots soccer, soccer that is played for the love of the game. My involvement started with a simple DM, that led to an interview with President Robert and next thing you know I was working on my first article (Why we love our club). The interview with Robert was pretty simple; he asked the basic questions and by the end of the phone call we were just talking tactics. I joined lower-league soccer just to meet soccer people and within one week I had met the President, Coach, Manager and tons of players. I’ve had more soccer conversations in the past few months than my entire life and that has helped with just continuing to learn the game.
On the media side, Salvador ( Social Media Admin) and I have talked media strategies and different ways to engage our community. We partnered our social media and writing to really try to create a full digital experience. We created hashtags and match posters. We both showed up for soccer and found a whole new passion for the game.
Nothing caps off a season quite like a Coras Season XI ( my opinion). While I only listed eleven players, there were many that contributed to the success of Riverside. Soccer is a team sport and it took the Coras more than just eleven players to finish the season
GK: Alonso Lara– Lara started in goal for majority of the season. While he had a few howlers towards the end of the season, he remained a leader and helped instruct the backline throughout the year.
RB: Jimmy Ross– Dragged around multiple positions, jimmy thrived playing RB. He is defensively strong, can transition the attack quickly and offers a killer cross.
CB: Jose Perez / Fernando Cabello– a physical duo that limits direct play. Both players played majority of the season together gaining chemistry and an understanding of each others play.
LB: Yosimar Hernandez– Best wingback in NPSL.
CDM: Shane Shelton– Shane plays best with more players in front of him. Sitting in front of the back four allows him to shore up the defense and act as that single pivot in the midfield, changing direction and searching for that direct diagonal ball.
CM: Hugo Gutierrez– Hugo is the engine. His ability to cover ground is second to none and makes the Coras press click. His constant chasing tends to force opponents to pass quickly often causing turnovers.
CM: Eric Gonzalez– Eric’s versatility helps mirror both Shane and Hugo, on top of being able to work the ball through the middle of the pitch.
LW: Alex Zaragoza– Alex is versatile winger who can play both in defense and attack. Alex likes to dribble in space and partner with his wingback. We didn’t get to see Alex and Yoshi together as much as I would have liked, but they complimented each other very well.
ST: Romario Lomeli– While he may not have had the most goals for Coras, it was his off the ball movement that helped him shine up top. Romi has shown to have the ability to drive down the field and take on opponents. Romi can drop into the midfield to receive the ball, allowing for the winger to shift up top. Lomeli can operate anywhere in the attacking third which also helps on the counter.
RW: Kevin Huezo– A professional player and our top scorer. Normally Kevin is lined up as Riverside’s striker and looks to have a quick shot when given space. Coming off the wing and shifting over allows Huezo receive the ball in the box or as a trailing attacker. The system allows him to roam and hunt for goals.
In a season you’ll have your ups-and-downs, but this season was a re-branding season for us. We had a bunch of the older players, from the years prior, [missing.] We had to get new players and break them into the league. I think we got the experience we needed from this year, of course we didn’t get the results that we wanted, but we are looking forward to next season. We are going to have to work even harder now.
I’ve been told that majority of these players will be returning to Riverside next year. With continued development we will see Riverside back in the playoff standings, looking to make it to the U.S. Open Cup. At the end of it all Riverside traveled 1,300 miles, rostered 37 players, hosted 9 home matches and did it for one city.