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Howard County 2021 boys soccer preview

A preview of the 2021 Howard County boys soccer season, with team-by-team capsules and players to watch.
A preview of the 2021 Howard County boys soccer season, with team-by-team capsules and players to watch. (Baltimore Sun file)

The boys soccer season this past spring was one of the most exciting in recent Howard County history.

Half of the county’s teams were highly competitive, and the season-ending tournament had a Cinderella story with a thrilling ending.

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Centennial, Marriotts Ridge, Mt. Hebron, Reservoir and River Hill were the top teams in the county, with the Vikings dominating the regular season and the Mustangs shocking the county in the postseason. Hebron went undefeated before the county tournament, while Marriotts Ridge upset the Vikings and multiple other teams to earn the county championship.

This season, the county’s coaches expect Mt. Hebron, Centennial and River Hill to be the top teams in the league, while Marriotts Ridge and Reservoir are expected to have competitive squads.

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The regular season starts Friday — with the first full slate of games on Sept. 9 — and ends Oct. 23. The MPSSAA soccer playoffs begin Oct. 27 with region play and finish Nov. 20.

Here’s a look at the 14 county teams entering the 2021 season:

Atholton

The Atholton boys soccer team in a huddle during a game against Long Reach in the spring 2021 season.
The Atholton boys soccer team in a huddle during a game against Long Reach in the spring 2021 season. (Photo courtesy of Israel Carunungan)

Coach: Derek Phillips (second season)

Spring 2021 record: 3-4

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Returning starters: Five

Top player: Senior Joshua Martins (MF).

Corner kick: The Raiders’ spring 2021 season was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, so Phillips’ squad played only four regular-season games. This fall, Atholton will rely on Martins, an honorable mention midfielder this past spring, and senior captain Sean Boullie.

Centennial

Centennial's Cameron Grable (6) in action against Marriotts Ridge's Madewa Adeyemo (20) during a high school boys soccer playoff match between Centennial and Marriotts Ridge in 2019.
Centennial's Cameron Grable (6) in action against Marriotts Ridge's Madewa Adeyemo (20) during a high school boys soccer playoff match between Centennial and Marriotts Ridge in 2019. (Daniel Kucin Jr. For Baltimore Sun Media/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Coach: Justin Thomas (fifth season)

Spring 2021 record: 8-2 (county runner-up)

Returning starters: Seven

Top players: Seniors Eddie Aguilar (MF), Andrew Fritz (MF), Cameron Grable (MF) and Sammy Molz (D).

Corner kick: Paced by Player of the Year Bryson Baker, the Eagles were one of the top teams in the county during the spring 2021 season, but Thomas’ squad fell to Marriotts Ridge in the county title game. The Eagles will be led this season by a group of three-year varsity players in Aguilar, Fritz, Grable and Molz.

Glenelg

Glenelg coach Joey Osborne talks to his team before a game against Centennial in 2016.
Glenelg coach Joey Osborne talks to his team before a game against Centennial in 2016. (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Coach: Joseph Osborne (seventh season)

Spring 2021 record: 2-8

Returning starters: Five

Top players: Senior Jaegon Hibbitts (MF); juniors DJ Anderson (D) and Siji Jolayemi (A).

Corner kick: The Gladiators struggled this past spring but still played several competitive games, including three overtimes contests. Osborne hopes his younger players can adjust to the speed of the varsity game this fall, and he expects his defense — led by Anderson and captains Drew Fulton and Nevin Shater — to be the team’s strength.

Hammond

Elliot Quinteros (left), pictured here playing for Hammond in 2012, is now the Golden Bears' head boys soccer coach.
Elliot Quinteros (left), pictured here playing for Hammond in 2012, is now the Golden Bears' head boys soccer coach. (Staff Photo by Jen Rynda)

Coach: Elliot Quinteros (first season)

Spring 2021 record: 5-6

Returning starters: Five

Top players: Seniors Ben Gallagher (D), Walid Khokhar (GK) and Emmanuel Oyeyemi (A); junior Diego Carino (MF).

Corner kick: The Golden Bears were the fourth-highest scoring team in the county this past spring. Hammond brings back starters Gallagher, Khokhar and Carino under first-year coach Quinteros, who is a former Golden Bears soccer player and a 2013 Hammond graduate. Khokhar, a second-team All-County selection last season, is one of the top returning goalies in the county. Quinteros said the team has high hopes this fall and expects to impress the county.

Howard

Howard's Will Tom (39) in action during a high school boys soccer match between Howard and River Hill during the 2019 season.
Howard's Will Tom (39) in action during a high school boys soccer match between Howard and River Hill during the 2019 season. (Daniel Kucin Jr./Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Coach: Nils Schroder (12th season)

Spring 2021 record: 5-5

Returning starters: Four

Top players: Seniors Joe Sircus (MF) and Viktor Struck (D); juniors Luke Ryerson (GK) and Will Tom (MF); sophomore Logan Ehart (D).

Corner kick: After an up-and-down season this past spring, Schroder believes his squad this year is balanced with no big weaknesses. He’s also expecting Sircus, Struck and Ryan Stewart to step up as leaders this season.

Long Reach

The Long Reach boys soccer team in a huddle in a game during the spring 2021 season.
The Long Reach boys soccer team in a huddle in a game during the spring 2021 season. (Photo courtesy of Israel Carunungan)

Coach: Sylvanus Alves (sixth season)

Spring 2021 record: 3-8

Returning starters: Five

Top players: Seniors Eric Allen (MF), Matthew Calajate (D), Darius Hopkins (GK), Ethan Pollack (MF) and Joel Pollack (D); juniors Wilfredo Campos (A) and Hassan Sharieff (A).

Corner kick: This past spring, the Lightning defense, led by first-team All-County defender Hayden Tootle, held five of their 11 opponents to one or zero goals. This fall, Alves said the key to success is organization and team chemistry. The sixth-year coach said his team’s strength is their desire to learn and get better every day.

Marriotts Ridge

The Marriotts Ridge boys soccer team celebrates a goal during the boys soccer county championship game against Centennial at Wilde Lake High School on April 16, 2021.
The Marriotts Ridge boys soccer team celebrates a goal during the boys soccer county championship game against Centennial at Wilde Lake High School on April 16, 2021. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media)

Coach: Quinn Khouri (sixth season)

Spring 2021 record: 6-5 (county champion)

Returning starters: Five

Top players: Senior Michael Ott (A); junior Kaden Bryan (MF).

Corner kick: The Mustangs went 2-5 in the regular season this past spring, but Khouri’s squad won four straight games in the tournament to claim the county crown. Khouri said the key for this fall will be replacing the senior leadership that graduated this past June. The Stangs bring back Bryan, who was a first-team All-County midfielder as a sophomore last season.

Mt. Hebron

Mt. Hebron's Mark Adja (left) fights for the ball during a scrimmage before the 2021 season.
Mt. Hebron's Mark Adja (left) fights for the ball during a scrimmage before the 2021 season. (Photo courtesy of Jenise Dunn)

Coach: Mike Linsenmeyer (20th season)

Spring 2021 record: 9-1

Returning starters: Seven

Top players: Seniors Lewis Hollander (MF), Jimmy Linsenmeyer (MF), Andrew Magdar (D) and Liam McCaffery (MF); junior Mark Adja (D).

Corner kick: The Vikings allowed only three goals and went undefeated during the regular season in the spring 2021 campaign but fell to Marriotts Ridge in the county tournament. This fall, coach Mike Linsenmeyer has one of the most experienced teams in the league with several players who have two or three seasons of varsity experience. Jimmy Linsenmeyer was a first-team All-County midfielder this past spring, while McCaffery was a second-team pick.

Oakland Mills

Oakland Mills' Christopher Okafor, right, fights for ball in the first half of boys soccer game on March 9, 2021.
Oakland Mills' Christopher Okafor, right, fights for ball in the first half of boys soccer game on March 9, 2021. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Coach: Don Shea (35th season)

Spring 2021 record: 3-8

Returning starters: Seven

Top players: Seniors Scott Kirby (D), Maynor Melgar (A), Chris Okafor (D), Helton Lopez Quintanilla (MF), Steven Santos (D) and Erick Vasquez (MF).

Corner kick: Shea returns to coach the Scorpions after stepping away this past spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The longtime coach said the key for his team this fall is winning one-score games. Seven of the Scorps’ eight losses last season were by one score. Oakland Mills is also tasked with replacing first-team All-County players Daniel Miranda and Taylor Nelson, who both graduated in June.

Reservoir

Reservoir #3 Dylan Bradford advances the ball with River Hill #10 Jonah Stoutenborough in pursuit in the 1st half. Howard County tournament boys soccer quarterfinal matchup between Reservoir and River Hill Thursday April 8, 2021 at River Hill High School. River Hill won 2-1..
Reservoir #3 Dylan Bradford advances the ball with River Hill #10 Jonah Stoutenborough in pursuit in the 1st half. Howard County tournament boys soccer quarterfinal matchup between Reservoir and River Hill Thursday April 8, 2021 at River Hill High School. River Hill won 2-1.. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)

Coach: Nicholas Valenti (first season)

Spring 2021 record: 6-4

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Returning starters: Six

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Top players: Seniors Dylan Bradford (D), Chris Gunning (MF) and Nathan Macek (A).

Corner kick: Reservoir is coming off a solid spring 2021 season in which the Gators won six one-goal games. In his first year at the helm, Valenti has a solid core of seniors led by Macek, Gunning, Bradford and team captain Lucas Turner. Macek was a first-team All-County selection this past spring.

River Hill

River Hill's #6 Antonio Paulino during a game against Marriotts Ridge on March 23, 2021.
River Hill's #6 Antonio Paulino during a game against Marriotts Ridge on March 23, 2021. (Jeffrey F. Bill)

Coach: Matt Shagogue (16th season)

Spring 2021 record: 7-3

Returning starters: Six

Top players: Seniors Aidan Edmonds (A), Jack Nelson (MF) and Antonio Paulino (MF).

Corner kick: River Hill was one of the top teams in the county this past spring, but the Hawks are tasked this fall with replacing first-team All-County selections Jonah Stoutenborough, Jed Dixon and Milan Gupta, all of whom graduated in June. Shagogue said the key for his squad this fall will be how they defend and that will determine how many games the Hawks win.

Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake boys soccer coach Trevor Shea talks during practice on Feb. 25, 2021.
Wilde Lake boys soccer coach Trevor Shea talks during practice on Feb. 25, 2021. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)

Coach: Trevor Shea (sixth season)

Spring 2021 record: 4-7

Returning starters: Six

Top players: Juniors Desmond Adeyemi (A), Melvin Ahoueya (GK), Rowley Jackson (MF) and Shea Nesbitt (D); sophomore Jackson Morgal (A).

Corner kick: The 2019 3A state champions weren’t as successful this past spring, and Shea is hoping his team remains healthy and has depth this fall. The Wildecats are looking to replace its three All-County performers from this past spring — Ousman Touray, Tyriq Umrani and Liam Nesbitt.

Chapelgate

Coach: Trip Beans (first season)

2019 record: 0-8 MIAA C Conference, 0-8 overall

Top players: Seniors Tate Alexander (MF/A) and Eric Spisz (MF/D); juniors Daniel Grimes (MF) and Mateo Idler (MF/A).

Corner kick: After participating in the MIAA’s “open season” last fall, the Yellowjackets enter this season with a new head coach. Beans said the senior leadership of captains Alexander, Spisz and Tommy Vergis will be vital to his team’s success.

Glenelg Country

Coach: Brad Sellar (first season)

2019 record: 3-12-1 MIAA B Conference, 6-12-1 overall

Top players: Seniors Adam Abdur-Rahman (D), Alex Farquhar (A), Wyatt Olson (MF) and Jimmie Ward (MF); freshman David Carrera (MF).

Corner kick: After not playing any games last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dragons have a strong senior class returning. Sellar believes his back line will be his team’s strength, as GCS has six defenders battling for the four starting spots.

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