HARLINGEN — When Harlingen South and Harlingen High meet this evening in their District 32-6A soccer opener at Boggus Stadium, two very different teams will meet on the pitch.
One will field just two returning starters while the other could start as much as nine.
However, as Harlingen South head coach Julian Robles put it, “The game will definitely be a treat for all who attend.”
The squad playing with a new level of excitement this season is Harlingen High.
Armed with a new head coach and new mentality, the Cardinals are hoping to turn its struggling program into a postseason contender. And if recent results are any indication, Harlingen is moving in the right direction.
“We are really excited to start the season,” said Harlingen head coach Johnny Guillen. “We break down the season into three phases: non-district, district and, God willing, the playoffs. We really had a good non-district schedule and beat both of our non-district opponents. I think the kids are starting to peak at the right time and they are just working really, really hard, and they want this change as much as I do.
“They are really motivated for the season and they are really excited for the season. This year we are returning nine starters and the best part is that out of those nine starters only two are seniors.”
While the Cardinals will field plenty experience in today’s game, Harlingen South is at the other end of the spectrum and will start the season with just two returning starters in junior Jose Lerma and senior Jairo Diaz. Nevertheless, Coach Robles is confident that the team can compete from the get go.
“We are going to have a lot of underclassman on the field and we know it is going to be a learning experience for them because the majority of them have never played a district game much less a Bird Bowl,” said Robles. “I expect a fast-paced game and I think we have the capacity to control the game with our great counter attacks, and I believe it is going to get physical at times, but it’s going to be a great soccer game and whichever way it goes, the crowd is going to be in for a treat.
“We are still in the learning process, but I think if we minimize our mistakes we’ll come out on top and there is nothing better than to open district with a win.”