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Photos: Tri-Cities boys' high school soccer teams have sights set on district, provincial success

COQUITLAM — The Fraser North district is one of the most competitive in senior boys' high school soccer.

The fall leaves provide a colourful backdrop to one of the most competitive high school sports seasons in the Tri-Cities.

Senior boys soccer started last week with three matches: Centennial defeated Riverside, 5-0; Dr. Charles Best beat Pinetree, 5-2; and the Port Moody Blues outscored Gleneagle, 3-2.

Here's how the season stacks up seven teams that will be playing for a Coquitlam Secondary Schools Athletic Association (CSSAA) championship as well as berths in the Fraser North district and provincial finals.

Centennial Centaurs

After failing to qualify for the Fraser North playoffs in 2022 following a six-place finish in provincials the year before, the Centennial Centaurs senior boys' soccer team has its sights set on redemption

And head coach Kevin Comeau fully expects his experienced lineup chok-a-blok with Grade 12 players to deliver.

"We will be an experienced and attack-minded team," Comeau said.

Leading that attack will be the Centaurs' senior captions, Nick Matheson and Iain Mackinder.

"Both are great leaders vocally and with their play," Comeau said, adding they'll be capably supported by skilled attacking forward Dominic Di Paola, centre back Jacob Kokuryo and centre midfielder Evan Crosby.

Senior wingers Markus Latorre and Aidan Furney will also chip in while Grade 12 keeper Luca Lambert along with sophomore Isaiah Sawatzky provide the team’s final stand on the back end.

"We will need to try and out-work our opponents in games," Comeau said. "But we will also be able to add some skill and flair with our possession and creativity."

Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils

Perennial contenders for a berth in provincials, Blue Devils coach Fahim Karmali anticipates another solid run this season with a "great blend" of seniors, juniors and sophomores.

But, he cautions, "they will all need to play their part to reach our goal."

Karmali said the group is ready to push each other "to be the best versions of themselves," with a positive, upbeat attitude.

"We have a tough zone," he said. "If you can get to the provincials, anything can happen."

Terry Fox Ravens

The Ravens' second place finish in league play and top placement in the Fraser North zone last year gives head coach John Murphy optimism for another strong campaign this fall.

Ryan West and Chris Ferriera, who were linchpins of that effort are now seniors and their experience will show the way for up-and-coming junior Ryan Prasad and Kyle Chow.

Murphy said the foursome will be leaned on heavily.

"They are capable of leading by example, are well respected and experienced."

Still, there’s room for improvement. Whether the Ravens can fill that expectation will depend on the players' maturity to step up to the challenge, Murphy said.

"We know it will be tough, as usual."

Pinetree Timberwolves

Success for the Timberwolves will depend on how much hard work the players are willing to do, says head coach Steve Jack.

The team is "going to need a complete team effort" to hang tough with its rivals, he said.

Leading the way will be senior centre back Matin Kazemi and a pair of junior midfielders, Nicholas Lam and Liam Commerford.

"We need their experience and leadership to help keep our team stable and moving forward," Jack said.

Otherwise, he added, the "young and very inexperienced" Pinetree squad could be in for a long season.

"If we can be competitive and give each team a good run, that will be a our definition of success," Jack said.

Riverside Rapids

The Riverside Rapids reached provincials last season — their first under the guidance of new head coach Dave Jones, who'd previously enjoyed success at Dr. Charles Best.

But with only three players returning from that effort, Jones is careful to keep his expectations for this season in check.

"If we make North Fraser playoffs, we will be quite pleased."

Key to any success the Rapids achieve this season will be senior keeper Grayson Sherle, who Jones said is Riverside's leader on the pitch.

He said the versatile athlete, who can also play out of the goal if needed, is an "incredible shot stopper" with "great heart."

The Gleneagle Talons and Port Moody Blues did not respond.