Belleville's boys soccer team is going to go young with several up-and-coming freshmen.
Head coach Lenny Marino is heading into his ninth season as Bucs head coach.
As of late last week they were still waiting on some of their players to pass the new concussion test that all New Jersey high school students need to take.
In addition all the starters had not been on the field together for various reasons for the scrimmages so Marino is looking forward to getting everybody on the field as the season starts Thursday at Caldwell.
The Bucs have only two starters returning from a team that went 4-12-2 last year, although 10 of those losses were by only one goal. And four of those 10 losses came in heartbreaking fashion as the other team won in the last minute.
If Belleville can change at least a portion of those one-goal losses around, they would be able to have a decent season and a shot at the Super Essex Conference Liberty division title.
The two starters that are back are senior Leo Liberato and sophomore Carlos Castro, one of the top Essex County freshmen last season.
Liberato missed part of 2010, accumulating three goals last season because of an injury after registering nine goals as a freshman.
There is a pair of seniors who also stand out, Warshaski Fermin and senior Michael Panis. Fermin was in goal against St. Joseph of Montvale last week and played well.
For 2011 there are two senior captains in defender Rodrigo Bunay and forward Michael Bamimore.
The five freshmen who lead the future are Bucs midfielder Matthew Gavivia, who had 11 goals during the summer, midfielder Max Correa, forward P.J. Gencarelli, defender Marlon Rodriguez, defense Jean Malhado and defender Walter Paralta. Marino said that many of the freshmen this season will get playing time on the field. "They're (the freshmen) going to struggle with the speed," said Marino.
Two other players expected to have extensive playing time are junior midfielder/forward Ray Orendas and senior defensemen Walter Paralta.
For the 2011 season Belleville has two squads in the program, junior varsity and varsity, but Marino is pushing for a freshmen team since he had more than 100 students -- including 45 freshmen -- sign up for soccer teams this season. He added that he will lose some of the freshmen to privateschools like Queen of Peace, St. Peter's Prep and St. Benedict, partly because the high school does not have a freshmen team.
In addition he said that he does not cut students from the program. "We want kids to be at practice instead of ending up on the streets after school," said Marino.
The Bucs will get a taste of where they are in the SEC in the early going with games at Caldwell on Thursday and at Montclair Kimberley Academy on Sept. 14.
Belleville 2011 boys soccer schedule
(Games at 4 p.m. unless noted)
Sept. 8 at Caldwell, 6 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Montclair Kimberley Academy
Sept. 16 Bloomfield
Sept. 21 Nutley
Sept. 24 at Newark Academy
Sept. 26 Glen Ridge
Sept. 30 Caldwell
Oct. 4 at St. Joseph
Oct. 6 at Science Park
Oct. 11 Millburn
Oct. 13 Montclair Kimberley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Bloomfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Nutley
Oct. 25 Newark Academy
Oct. 27 at Glen Ridge
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