SAMOHI — Nobody likes to use the term “rebuilding year” around the girls soccer team, but it’s looking more that way everyday.
With three starters slated to return from last year’s team that made it to the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section playoffs, Santa Monica High School’s new Head Coach Jimmy Chapman and Director of Coaching Serafin Rodriguez had reason to think that this season would be at least as fruitful.
But, knee injuries to two of those starters (Brittany Garcia and Shannon Rock) and the decision of another projected starter to skip the season has the team assessing its roster and adjusting expectations accordingly.
“So far, it is a little touch and go,” Chapman said of his roster woes. “We’re trying to adjust to everybody’s different styles.”
Fortunately for Chapman, he isn’t starting from scratch. Until last year, he was an assistant on the boys team helping lead them to a state title two years ago. Chapman said that familiarity has served him well as he makes the team his own.
Rodriguez is confident that Chapman is the man for the job, but realizes that the fortunes of the team depend on the health of the players as much as the performance of the new coach.
“He has a lot of losses this year,” Rodriguez said of players missing due to injury and graduation. “We’re going to be struggling a little bit.”
The shorthanded Vikings have begun the season 1-2 as they have struggled to find chemistry. Samohi will get another chance to see where they stand as a team today against a San Pedro team that Chapman called physically tough. The game will take place at John Adams Middle School at 3:30 p.m.
Chapman will look to sophomores Kristen Vasquez and Sara Khodakarami to shore up Samohi’s midfield in relief of Garcia and Rock. While Garcia will miss the entire season, Rock’s injury may allow her to play at some point later this season.
“While I want and expect the most out of the players,” Chapman said, “I don’t want to categorize any year as a rebuilding year.
“This year will be a spring board to what we can do in the future.”