After returning to the playoffs for first time since 2015 last year, Freeport boys’ soccer has larger aspirations this fall.
The Red Devils reached the postseason after a 4-2-4 regular season before suffering a disappointing 4-0 first round playoff exit to Farmingdale. Fourth-year head coach Anthony May said the returning players are hungry for more and sees potential for a deep playoff run that stretches into November.
“We’re not into just competing anymore,” said May, who has reached the playoffs two of his three years since taking over a program that achieved just one win during the 2014 season. “We are setting the bar a little higher now.”
May’s effort to help push his team toward the next level included taking part in a summer league for the first time at Oceanside High School and winning all five matches. The momentum then carried over into the regular season with Freeport capturing the season opener 2-0 against defending county champion Uniondale last Friday.
Senior midfielders Jose Flores and Sebastion Arboleda return after All-County seasons in 2017. Flores netted a goal and assist in the Uniondale win after registering 10 points last year. Arboleda tallied five points as a junior on two goals and three assists.
Freeport’s strong returning core also includes four All-Conference selections including senior goalie Henry Fernandez, who recorded eight saves in his shutout win against Uniondale. Junior defenseman Angel Flores, who is Fernandez’s backup in net, also achieved conference accolades last fall along with junior midfielder Randy Parada and senior defender Caleb Medina.
“The guys have all bought in,” May said. “They are committed to each other.”
Senior Kevon Smith gives Freeport added depth in the midfield and May hopes for a big final high school season after making progress as a junior. Fellow senior Kenn Miranda should provide Freeport an additional scoring threat at forward.
Complementing Freeport’s veteran roster are two freshmen selected for the varsity team in Cesar Castro and Tyree Baskin, who scored a goal in his Red Devil debut against Uniondale. May said the duo was confident enough to make the big club to skip freshmen and junior varsity tryouts.
“They rolled the dice,” May said. “They fit in nicely.”
Freeport competes in a competitive Conference AA-I, which features Uniondale, Farmingdale, Oceanside, Syosset and Hempstead, who the Red Devils will next face in a road match Friday at 4:15 p.m. May said that while the league is a challenge, he sees potential for a high playoff seed and a first round playoff bye.
“Sky is the limit for this team,” May said. “The only one in the way is themselves.”
Beyond wins and losses, May is proud of how the team is also shining in the classroom with several former players now shining on the college level. He holds practices at 6 p.m. to allow players to take care of homework and participate in other extracurricular activities.
“We are making a lot of progress as a program,” he said. “Things are moving in the right direction.”