BRISTOL - If thereâ€™s one thing all the local boys soccer teams can agree upon, it is that the level of competition in the area has increased in recent seasons.
Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central, St. Paul and Terryville enter the season in different positions than last year.
Eastern has a familiar coach, with Bill Sweet in his 48th season with the program. Sweet believes his team can compete, but a specific group on his team will have to be strong in order to do so.
For St. Paul, the team lost a couple key players and youth is prominent on its roster. It looks to improve on last season with the young group leading the way.
Terryville may have the toughest task this season, replacing a multitude of players from last year. However, coach George Smith believes that this season can be a strong one.
After Nate Jandreauâ€™s first season as head coach, the future is bright for the Bristol Central boys soccer program.
A new year and a clean slate have all four programs with varying expectations.
Following is a closer look at each.
Coach: Bill Sweet (48th year, 378-308-83)
Last year: 4-9-3
Probable starters: Tom Tefoe (senior, goalie, captain), Tanner Tefoe (junior, back), Gabe Soucy (junior, back), Bruce Worley (senior, back, captain), Nick LaChance (junior, back), Connor Erato (junior, midfield) Dante Costantiello (sophomore, midfield), Tom Lombardi (senior, midfield, captain), Jared Greger (junior, midfield), Jake Woznicki (sophomore, forward), Lyle Winiarski (senior, forward, captain)
Key reserves: Nate Diloreto (freshman, goalie), Konrad Olekszyk, (junior, back), Brandon Greger (freshman, midfield), Patrick Brady (junior, back), Ben Chiasson (junior, forward), Justin Jacques (senior, midfield), Drew Dauphinee (sophomore, midfield), Noah Piazza (junior, back), Joe Verardi, (freshman, forward)
Outlook: For Bristol Eastern, its strength is passing and ball movement. Finding the open man has been something that coach Sweet has particularly noticed throughout the preseason.
The lack of depth is a weakness for this yearâ€™s group. Along with that is the lack of experienced players.
Sweet believes that this yearâ€™s group can compete with any team in the league.
The CCC schedule is tough, but this yearâ€™s team is going to try to improve upon the tough season a year ago and make a run for a spot in the Class L State Tournament.
Tom Tefoe and Tanner Tefoe are the keys defensively for the Lancers. Tom is a four-year starter in goal and a leader for the team.
Offensively, Tom Lombardi is the leader. Lombardi is a strong defender but also does a solid job at running the offense. Lombardi is a three-year varsity player.
Lyle Winiarski is the most versatile player for Eastern. He has seen playing time at defense, midfield and forward. Known as a good playmaker, a good season out of Winiarski will be crucial for Eastern.
Jake Woznicki is another important player for the Lancers. He brings both the ability to score and has the willingness to find teammates of his in the open field. Woznicki is the leading scorer from last season.
Some key players for Eastern graduated last season. Gian Costantiello and Chris LaBeau are two players that the Lancers will miss this year.
For the conference, Eastern will have a tough schedule. Berlin returns most of its players from last season. Bristol Central is athletic and has players with good ball skill. Plainville and Maloney are known to be possession teams with the ability to get in the heads of its opponents by controlling the ball.
Head coach: Joe Abele (2nd season)
Last year: 7-10-1 (1-1-0 states)
Projected starters: Matthew Goodwin (center mid, senior) Stefan Zwolinski (center mid, junior), Ethan Rembish (center mid, sophomore), Justin Rigsby (defense, senior), Paul Alderete (defense, senior), Vinny Penisse (defense, senior), Daniel Reardon (defense, sophomore), Adam Van Linter (striker, junior), Spencer Sinkwich (striker, junior), Dylan Bissonnette (striker, sophomore), Matt Raymond (goalie, senior)
Key reserves: Luke Hines (sophomore), Daniel Bond (freshman), Patrick Carbone (sophomore)
Outlook: The St. Paul roster is young this season, but according to coach Joe Abele, the team has good technique and in order for the team to succeed this year, the youth must be consistent on the field.
With another year under Abeleâ€™s system, the team is hoping to improve on last seasonâ€™s 7-10-1 record.
The key players for the team are Stefan Zwolinski, Matthew Goodwin and Ethan Rembish. Goodwin is a senior, Zwolinski is a junior and Rembish is a sophomore. The three most important players being different classes represents the various experience on the Falcons roster.
The team will look for these players to help replace the production of Eli Kennedy and Chandler Wright. Both graduated this past year.
Head coach: George Smith (8th season, 175-113-26)
Last year: 9-7-2, lost in second round of state tournament
Probable starters: Adam Pelz (senior, captain), Ethan Rheault (senior, captain), Garrick Webster (junior), Colin Bamrick (junior), Dana Mazur (sophomore)
Outlook: Terryville had a successful season last year, but this season should be tougher as a less experienced group takes the field.
The team loses 13 seniors from last season, but head coach Smith is confident that his core returning group will be able to continue where the team left off last year and hopefully go further in the state tournament.
In the division, Smith is expecting strong play from Lewis Mills, Nonnewaug and Northwest. The league as a whole has improved, which should make for a good season of soccer.
Head coach: Nate Jandreau (2nd season)
Last year: 8-8, lost in first round of tournament to Guilford
Probable starters: Dillon Willis (back, senior), Dante Prado (back, senior), Alex Koci (back, senior), Marcello Delvalle (midfield, senior), Josh Cordero (forward, senior), David Bowes (striker, sophomore), Hunter Peterson (defense, junior), Ellis Carmelich (midfield, junior)
Key reserves: Adam Jones (Sophomore), Diego Naranjo (Sophomore)Â
Season outlook: Bristol Centralâ€™s biggest strength as a team is its ability to move the ball around well. The team has played together for awhile and the familiarity between the players is something that coach Jandreau hopes can give them an advantage.
While the team has good ball skill, finishing could be an issue for them this year after losing lead goal scorer from last season Mike Lemke.
Central has a goaltender competition going on between senior Alex Bernier and sophomore Danny Gaudoin.
If the younger players step up for Jandreau, he expects them to improve on the 8-8 record from a year ago.