Boys Soccer: It’s no time to panic for St. Francis … yet.


Above: The good ‘ol days with St. Francis keeper Jordan Bell.

I got a lot of heat last week for ranking St. Francis (2-8) the area’s No. 1 team in the West San Gabriel Valley. Things always look different depending on where you sit, huh? I stand by my choice, and here’s (another) chance for you all to comment on how oblivious I am to sports: St. Francis will be the No. 1 team come Wednesday’s rankings.

The answer is simple, and I really wish some of you understood the logic behind it. St. Francis hands down has the toughest schedule in the San Gabriel Valley, better than Monrovia’s, better than La Caada’s and better than Baldwin Park’s. St. Francis was the only team in our area to play in the prestigious Southern California Classic, known as the West Coast Classic a few years ago. It was a tournament I heavily covered in my four years at the Register, and it was easily the best high school soccer tournament in the nation when I covered it back in the day. For you soccer aficionados, the West Coast Classic can rival that of the prestigious Dallas Cup, and so on. (Not even the soccer-heavy city of South Bradenton, Fla. puts a tournament of the Classic’s caliber).

Take a look at St. Francis’ schedule. The Golden Knights played four teams ranked in ESPN’s FAB 50 rankings: Santa Barbara, Santa Margarita, Brophy Prep and El Camino Real, at one point ranked the No. 1 team in the nation. You can try to question the legitimacy of the FAB 50 rankings (after all, yours truly was a weekly voter), but nevertheless all are soccer powers in their respective region.

Just for fun, let’s say St. Francis didn’t play in the Classic and take its Mission League schedule alone. It’s arguably the toughest high school soccer league in the CIF-Southern Section; the Trinity League is up there, too. Yes, so far the Golden Knights are off to a rocky start in league (0-2) with losses to Harvard-Westlake and Chaminade. “Of course there’s a concern,” St. Francis coach Glen Appels said. “But we’ve been right there. The truth of the matter is with the young guys we just have to get on the right side. I don’t think there’s any panic at this point. This is a huge week for us.”

Huge week, indeed: St. Francis takes on host Notre Dame today; at Alemany on Wednesday; and the big show on Friday at 5 p.m. against visiting Loyola. That the Golden Knights are the defending CIF Southern California Regional champions is of little to no pressure.

“That was just part of a larger picture,” Appels said. “I don’t think when the season started anyone said they wanted to go out and win the regional championship, but that was a bonus. What we want to do is make a nice run in the Mission League and be successful in the playoffs, and I don’t think that’s pressure either. It’s more of an expectation.”

That’s St. Francis soccer for you: An expectation to be great is the driving force, not pressure.

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  • San Gabriel Valley Soccer Fan

    You make a good point about strenght of schedule…

    However…

    La Canada 3, Burbank 0
    Burbank 3, Glendale 0
    Glendale 2, St Francis 1

    What more do you want?

  • Miguel Melendez

    Every argument is subjective. To say La Canada is better than St. Francis because the Spartans beat Burbank, who beat Glendale, who beat St. Francis can be seen a bit farfetched. Still, your point is well taken, and you yourself make a valid point.

  • San Gabriel Valley Soccer Fan

    OK, then I have another one…

    La Canada 5, Hart 0
    Hart 5, Chaminade 3
    Chaminade 2, St Francis 1

    I know – wins don’t always translate, but these scores aren’t even close, and more importantly, you owe it to yourself to analyze the rosters of the two teams.

    And, MOST important… if they were going to play head to head, would you put money on St Francis???

  • Anonymous

    AMEN MIGUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Miguel Melendez

    I’m not a betting man, but at this point I would go with St. Francis. However, I have yet to see either team and my decision is based on St. Francis simply being St. Francis. I’ll get my fist chance to see La Canada boys soccer on Friday when the Spartans host Monrovia, who are REALLY good. Beware of Mathias Ibanez. After I write my report, I’ll head over to St. Francis to check out the Golden Knights against Loyola, and then I’ll have a definite understanding. Note: I will only watch St. Francis soccer, I won’t write for the paper since I will cover St. Francis-Loyola in boys basketball later that night. I will, however, post something on the blog that night or sometime Saturday. Keep an eye on that.

  • WOW

    Miguel, Really? You are trying to argue with his logic?

    This is why people get frustrated, 3 – 0 is not a close soccer game.

    I’m not a La Canada supporter but clearly the evidence is there. “St. Francis is St. Francis”, if you ever become a betting a man please let me know. I’ll take 10K for LC.

  • Arcadia

    Arcadia and Burroughs had a thriller
    Arcadia down 2-0, 2-1 at half
    Burroughs scores to make it 3-1 with 14 minutes
    Arcadia scores immediately following the restart and adds two more for a 4-3 lead
    Burroughs scores a goal with about 6 minutes remaining
    final score: 4-4

  • Great game

    Arcadia and Burroughs had a thriller
    Arcadia was down 2-0, 2-1 at half
    Burroughs scored to make it 3-1 with about 14 minutes left
    Arcadia scored immediately after the restart and add to more for a 4-3 lead with about 8 minutes remaining
    Burroughs scored an equalizer with about 5 minutes left
    final score: 4-4

  • Messi

    okay Rosemead beat Monrovia 6-3, tied pasadena beat mt view so how are they behind in rankings while st francis continue to lose?

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  • Lame

    This blog sucks! Freddies is way better!

  • tcchamps

    Miguel:

    Are we just in a winter funk or does winter sports generate no excitment? I smell Baseball in the air!

  • highschoolsoccer

    Hmmm more boys soccer please?

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    I’ve seen progression in every post. Your newer posts are simply wonderful compared to your posts in the past. Keep up the good work!

  • anonymouse

    Guess Miguel was right. 1-0 SF. Geez Miguel, born under a good star?

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