Preseason boys soccer: No. 8 Bayside
Joe Corrado has somehow found the fountain of youth at Bayside Athletic Field, but the Bayside boys soccer coach isn’t exactly celebrating.
His Commodores have gone from young to younger and return just three starters from last year’s squad that reached the PSAL Class A semifinals.
The rest of last year’s starters, like Constantine Pougiouklidis and Marcello Russo, graduated or, as is the case with star midfielder Santiago Moore and key defender Danny Babar, have left to play Academy soccer.
“Santi was an amazing goal scorer and creator up top and Danny in the back was a huge loss,” Corrado said of Moore and Babar, who were both named All-City second team by MSG Varsity. “He kept everything completely solid back there, started our offense from the back.”
There was an amazing freshman class that entered the schools four years ago, but there’s just three who remain, leaving Corrado to ponder what could have been.
“If I had the graduating class that came in when they were freshmen it would be an unbelievable team,” he said. “It just didn’t pan out that way.”
Even though Corrado said this will be a “rebuilding year,” by no means is this a bad team. What they lack in experience, they make up for in hard work and potential. He’s encouraged by the improvement in just a week of organized practices.
“I think we’re going to be a completely different team from Day One to the last day based on how far they’ve come already in the preseason,” he said.
Anchoring the group are returning starters Kevin Londono, Mohammad Yonis and Andres Huerfano. All three seniors will factor into the Commodores midfield this season.
“They’re dynamite players,” Corrado said. “They’ve been part of the success of the team over the past three years. They’re very good high school soccer players.”
Londono said he’s not surprised, or concerned, by this year’s youth movement at Bayside.
“We always have a young squad every year,” he said. “Last year was the same thing. We work with what we have and I think we can do things this year.”
Corrado said he’s been impressed with the central defense tandem of Danny Zambrano and Michael Jimenez and said Andrea Andreou has been outstanding as a defensive center midfielder.
While Corrado’s expectations are somewhat tempered, his players are excited about the season, in part because they have one of the city’s top coaches on their sideline.
“I think we’re going to do great because Corrado knows what to do with us,” Yonis said. “He knows how to use the players, how to change things up to make us play better on the field.”
While Moore and Babar were the marquee names, Huerfano believes their departure will open the door to the remaining players to make a name for themselves and surprise the rest of the city.
“I think some teams are looking down on us because we lost most of our starters, especially Santi and Danny, but I think we’re also going to impress a few of them,” Huerfano said. “When we work together and have all our chemistry built up, we’re going to surprise some teams.”
Check out our preseason No. 7 team Friday at 10 a.m.